Great Britain got off to a strong start at the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in LA by winning gold and silver in its first two events. Iga Kowalski-Owen of of British Cycling reports.
It was a great day for multiple Paralympic Champion Sarah Storey who made her victory in the C5 500m Time Trial look almost effortless. Storey rode her two laps brilliantly, posting a new British record and a PB with a time of 37.371, head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
“This is the event, alongside the road race, that I get a little nervous” said Storey. “You never know what’s going to happen when the world record holder (China’s Ju Fang Zhou) is in the event.”
Storey put today’s success down to training with the able-bodied Team Pursuit squad and to her preparations for the Team Sprint “I’ve been working hard on getting more explosive, so it was good to get a PB as it shows I’m notching away towards the world record.”
“Today I was just trying to concentrate on getting out of the gate cleanly, getting the first half snappy and then using my strength in the second lap and a half to drive as fast as I could. It all came together for me and I’m really chuffed.” she said.
The other British success came in the Women’s B/Vi 3km Pursuit in which GB fielded two tandem pairings – Lora Turnham, piloted by Fiona Duncan, silver medallists in the event in 2011, and Aileen McGlynn, piloted by Helen Scott. Both pairings made it through a tough qualification, posting a third and second fastest times respectively.
In the finals, Lora Turnham and Fiona Duncan faced New Zealand’s Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson in a bronze ride off. The British pairing got off to a good start but lost advantage to the Kiwis after the first few laps and failed to get it back, finally placing fourth.
Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott were up against Ireland’s Catherine Walsh and Francine Meehan in the finals. Here too, the British pairing started the race better than the opposition but lost their advantage in consecutive laps to place second behind the Irish.
“For a few second in that final I thought, we can have this, but I think we got it all out in the first ride” said pilot Helen Scott after the race. “We went off well trying to hold the same splits but we were a little slower each time.”
Still, the silver medal marks a great improvement for the British tandem which qualified 8th in the 3km Pursuit last year in Montichiari and both McGlynn, the stoker, and Scott, the pilot, believe they can close the gap on the Irish between now and the London Paralympics.
Racing at LA’s Velodrome at the Home Depot Centre continues tomorrow, with more GB success expected.
GB Medal Tally
Women’s C5 500mTT – Sarah Storey (PB & British Record)
Women B/Vi 3km Pursuit – Aileen McGlynn, piloted by Helen Scott