Hat-trick of gold medals sees Britain end in style at UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships

Hat-trick of gold medals sees Britain end in style at UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships


Great Britain’s spectacular time in Rio rounded off with perfection after securing a hat-trick of gold medals on the final day of action.

Already the haul of medals was impressive but the British team took that up a level to bring the curtain down in Brazil, the tandem in particular yielding plenty of success.

That included another gold and world record for Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott, while Neil Fachie picked up yet another rainbow jersey alongside Matthew Rotherham.

But that wasn’t all as Jody Cundy, Louis Rolfe and Jon-Allan Butterworth sprinted their way to the top of the podium as the team finished top of the medal table with 11 golds, part of a total tally of 18 in Brazil.

Thornhill and Scott show their class in Brazil

A world record, rainbow jersey and gold medal – while Saturday was good for Thornhill and Scott, Sunday showed they could match and improve even on themeselves.

Their day could hardly have started any better, not only qualifying with the fastest time but stopping the clock in a world record run of 10.891 in the women's sprint.

Expectation was therefore on their shoulders heading into the last race of their weekend but the pair, class acts on many an occasion, showed they could more than handle the task.

After winning the first race of the final against Jessica Gallagher and Madison Jenssen, Thornhill and Scott ensured there was no need for a decider – arms aloft even before crossing the finish line to show the dominance that was a wonderful week.

Milestone moments a regularity for Fachie and Rotherham

Saturday saw Fachie and Rotherham become the only pair to cross the line in less than a minute in the B 1km time trial, putting their feet truly on the gas in Rio.

Yet the duo showed they still had plenty in the tank for one final push, with another gold medal their prize.

This time 9.765 seconds was the time in the spotlight, closing in on the world record time Fachie himself set with Peter Mitchell, though this was the best in a race at sea level.

Similar to their compatriots, their path to the final was also comprehensive, with Tristan Bangma and Patrick Bos also gunning for gold, with the Brits once again needing just two races to seal the deal.

But that wasn’t all with James Ball and Mitchell – who had posted the second quickest time in the heats – fighting and duly succeeding in their bid for bronze after overcoming the Australian team, also in two heats.

British trio flying high in Rio

The smiles on the faces of Cundy, Rolfe and Butterworth painted a picture better than words could describe of their latest Rio success.

They had, after all, just become world champions – a 15th rainbow jersey coming Cundy’s way, the first dating back all the way to 2006.

Against China, this gold-medal race had the extra edge of being a Paralympic rematch for the British trio, who had prevailed on the very same boards two years ago in this, the mixed team C1-5.

But it was no foregone conclusion that a repeat would be evident, forced to work hard to take their deserved place atop of the podium and receive a feeling of gold that never changes.

Experience a-plenty for championship debutants

A maiden world championships is always a path into the unknown but there were plenty of British performances to suggest this will be far from their only appearances.

That was across all four days in Rio, drawing to an end with an impressive showing from Jaco van Gass in the scratch race.

Just inches separated him from a medal, one of five not to lose a lap as he finished in fourth place, one spot ahead of teammate Jon Gildea.

But as the curtain fell on the Brazilian boards, there is still plenty more for the British para-cycling team to look forward to on both the track and road.