Gold for Mark Colbourne in Para-cycling World Championships

Colbourne: “I have come a long way after breaking my back in a paragliding accident in 2009”. Bronze for Jody Cundy in the Pursuit.

Christina Kelkel writes from LA: Mark Colbourne has won a Gold medal for the GB team in the Paracycling World Championships on day 2 while Jody Cundy had to settle for a Bronze medal after a disrupted qualifying ride.

Related Articles: Day 1 GB Team Report | Day 2 GB Team Report

Gold for Colbourne
Mark qualified second fastest in the C1’s 3km Individual Pursuit in a time of 4:06.895 and had to race Spaniard Juan Jose Mendez Fernandez (4:06.285) for Gold.

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Mark (centre) and his first rainbow jersey. Photo:  Kelkel

Mark got off for a very good start and managed to close in on his rival lap after lap, finally catching him to take his first ever Para-Cycling World Championship Gold in his first International track competition. Mark said of the victory, “I have come a long way after breaking my back in a paragliding accident in 2009 and I feel like all the hard work I have put in over the last two years is paying off now. It’s a dream come true and I can’t wait to tell my family later tonight!”

The day held a mixed bag of emotions for Mark, after his classification was challenged and he had to present himself to the classifiers between his qualifying race and the final for Gold. “I kind of expected this and always had it in the back of my mind. After all, it’s not common for a Paralympic Champion (Michael Teuber) to get overlapped in qualifying” Mark commented.”

However, after 2 hours of examination the commissairs confirmed Mark’s classification as a C1 so he was able to ride for Gold. “I am really happy all doubts have been cleared and I can now fully concentrate on the Kilometre tomorrow. I feel quite confident having achieved my first goal for these World Championships, so I’ll just enjoy the race tomorrow.”

Photo:  Kelkel

Day 3 will see Mark racing in the 1km Time Trial, which will be his final competition at these year’s Para-Cycling Track World Championships and also the last chance to leave a lasting impression with the GB staff before the London Paralympic Games.

Earlier in the day, Mark qualified second fastest in the C1’s 3km Individual Pursuit in a time of 4:06.895. This is Mark’s first International track competition after making his debut on the road at the UCI Para-Cycling RoadWorld Championships five months ago and coming away with a strong Silver medal.

Before today’s competition Mark said “I only really started training on the track after the Road World Championships and it turned out my times were very workable. Since then, I have constantly improved, so I feel quite confident going into the competition now.” A former Volleyball player for Wales, Mark broke his back in a paragliding accident back in 2009 and now races in the C1 category for riders with most severe disabilities.

With his background in Triathlon and endurance sports, it’s clear what he is most passionate about “I love riding the Pursuit! I can settle in, listen to my coach on the sideline and just enjoy riding my bike. I like the Kilo, but it’s all about power and with only four laps of racing, it’s all in. There is no room for error!”

Bronze for Jody Cundy
Sprinter Jody Cundy started off his competition with a Bronze medal in the Pursuit. Jody qualified third in a time of 4:55.958 and had to race Spain’s Roberto Garcia Alcaide (4:57.622) in the final for Bronze. Motivated by his unlucky qualification run (*see below), Jody got off too a quick start and was well ahead of his opponent after two laps. Quickly closing in on Alcaide, Jody did not waste any time and managed to catch the Spaniard after 5 laps to take the Bronze medal.

Jody Cundy with his Bronze medal. Photo:  Kelkel

After the race, Jody said “We had not planned to go for the catch so it was quite a surprise to have him in sight after two laps. I was a little disappointed with my performance this morning when I was off pace, so we decided to change a few things and ride the same schedule again. We changed the gearing after the qualifying and without any distractions on the track, I could fully concentrate on my racing so I felt much better tonight than I did this morning.”

Even though Jody did not manage to improve on his previous World Championships performance in Montichiari where he won a Silver, Jody feels confident that his result is a step in the right direction: “Ultimately, London is my main goal and I am still learning in the Pursuit. It’s a very different event to the Kilo but I am not a million miles off from where I want to be, so everything is pointing into the right direction.”

“Of course, I would have liked to post a faster time in the qualifying as my time didn’t reflect my good shape at the moment, but it is all about the learning experience and we learned a lot today!”

After today’s pursuit, Jody is now looking forward to his favorite discipline, the 1km Time Trial, in which he is defending champion and WR holder. “I am in good form and I feel much more in control riding the kilo, but the track in LA is not as fast as Manchester or Montichiari, so breaking my WR will be tough”.

Following a discussion with the UCI Management Committee, the UCI overruled their decision to enforce rule 1.3.022 (stating that no rider is allowed to wear overshoes during competition) after tonight’s racing. This means that all riders will now be allowed to wear overshoes for the reminder of the competition.

Jody Cundy racing to a Bronze medal. Photo:  Kelkel

Jody got off to a tricky start in the 4km Individual Pursuit after a Commissaire standing on the track in the back straight forced Jody to quit his first qualification run. Luckily for Jody, the UCI recognized this error and allowed Jody a restart, but this also meant that he had no other rider to race against.

Nevertheless, Jody rode a strong race finishing in a time of 4:55.958, which was good enough to place him third. After the race, Jody said “this was the hardest pursuit I have ever ridden and unfortunately not one of my fastest. I am still quite pleased though to have made it into the final for Bronze after having to start a second time.”

“I came around the first corner and saw the Commissaire standing on the track, so I didn’t have a choice but to slow down and abort the attempt. There was very little time to refocus before my second qualification run and having no one to chase didn’t make things easier neither. But that’s just the way it was and I tried to make the best of the situation.”

This wasn’t the first time Jody has been unlucky in Los Angeles after his road bike, used for training and warming up, got broken on the plane to America. “Luckily, the mechanics managed to temporarily fix the bike, but I will most likely get a replacement once I get back to the UK” Jody commented.

Related Articles: Day 1 GB Team Report | Day 2 GB Team Report


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