Dame Sarah Storey led the charge on another day of Paralympic success for the Great Britain team in Tokyo 2020, writing her way deeper into the sport’s history books in the process.
Appearing at her eighth Paralympic Games, Storey collected gold in the women’s C5 time trial, the 16th gold medal of her career which puts her equal with swimmer Mike Kenny as the most successful British Paralympian of all time.
On a day of road time trials at the Fuji International Speedway, Ben Watson turned in a stunning ride to take gold in the men’s C3 time trial.
Storey’s team-mate Crystal Lane-Wright finished second in the C5 time trial, completing a one-two for the British.
Lora Fachie, and her pilot Corrine Hall, added to the gold they won on the track last week by taking silver in the women’s B time trial while there was also a bronze medal for George Peasgood in the men’s C4 time trial.
The successes took the total GB medal haul in cycling events at Tokyo to 19, eight of them gold.
But it was also a day that saw Storey, who still has the road race to ride at these Games, become the joint most successful ever British Paralympian.
“This is what I’ve been preparing for for such a long time,” said Storey. “When everybody asked me after Rio if I was going to carry on and try and take the record off Mike, or match him, I said I don’t really know.
“But the closer we’ve got, the more it seemed it might be a possibility and to do it this morning was brilliant.”
Storey and Lane-Wright started the medal rush on the fifth day of cycling events, and the first on the road, in Tokyo.
Over a 24km course at the Fuji Speedway, former home of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix, Storey rode a terrific winning time of 36:09.90, more than 90 seconds ahead of her team-mate Lane-Wright whose time of 37:40.89 was, in turn, 54 seconds ahead of bronze.
“I’m really pleased,” said Lane-Wright, who also won silver in the individual pursuit behind Storey on the track last week. “That was quite a hard race, a hard course. I got fourth in Rio so I’m really pleased to medal here.”
Watson led from start to finish of the C3 time trial with one of the day’s most dominant performances, taking gold by nearly 57 seconds from Germany’s Steffen Warias in a time of 35:00.82 for the 24km race.
“I can’t believe it, I’ve never won a time trial before,” said Watson. “I’ve always been the bridesmaid so to be Para champion, I haven’t got any words for it. It’s what I’ve worked for since I started this journey.”
In a thrilling C4 time trial, Peasgood added to the silver medal he won in the men’s PTS5 triathlon last week, with a bronze, missing out on silver by less than four seconds over the 32km.
The talented all-rounder led after the first of the four laps and was in the silver position at the halfway stage but just missed out to Slovakian pair Patrik Kuril and Jozef Metelka in a topsy-turvy deciding lap which saw him cross the line in a time of 46:08.93.
In the day’s final race with British interest, the Irish tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy led all the way in a dominant performance but Fachie and Hall were equally solid in second throughout, finishing the 32km race in 48:32.06, almost exactly one minute behind the winners.
The other British tandem of Sophie Unwin and Jenny Holl finish fifth.
In the C3 time trial, Fin Graham missed a bronze medal by an agonising margin of less than three seconds while track specialist Jaco van Gass came a creditable fifth.
There was misfortune and disappointment for defending champion Steve Bate, and his pilot Adam Duggleby, who withdrew from the men’s B time trial on the second of four laps after a painful opening lap crash which damaged their tandem.