Great Britain Para-cycling Team’s Megan Giglia produced an impressive debut performance at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships on Friday, qualifying for the bronze medal final in the C3 pursuit.
The 30-year-old from Warwickshire posted a time of 4.24.488 in qualifying, good enough to secure a ride against 2014 bronze medallist Simone Kennedy of Australia, who posted a 4:21.902 for her qualifying effort.
Giglia’s qualification ride was two seconds faster than her silver medal winning ride at the Newport Para-cycling International earlier in the year. Yet despite a fast start in the final, she was unable to improve on her qualification time and fell behind her adversary, stopping the clock at 4:27.918 to finish fourth.
"Today was a fantastic experience”, said Megan.
"Meeting fellow cyclists from different nations and watching how they prepare."
"For me it was just about making sure that I got my preparation and my general attitude to racing under control and that I approached it in the right way, which I feel I achieved pretty well.”
"My qualification time was faster than my finals but I was tired and for me for a first race I can't really complain."
It was an impressive debut for Giglia, who had a stroke just over two years ago, aged 27, which left her with right-side paralysis.
Giglia joined the Great Britain Paralympic Development Squad in May 2014 and moved up to the academy in October, the world championships only her second international appearance for the squad.
Great Britain Paralympic Development Programme coach John Hewitt summed up Megan’s performance.
"Megan was solid in the first eight laps and then the fatigue hit her hard but I think overall as quite a new athlete on our programme she's working hard, putting in a hard time in training and fingers crossed the results will follow."
Fellow UCI Para-cycling Track World Championship debutant Louis Rolfe also produced a solid ride in the C2 men’s pursuit, clocking 4:04.574 for the three-kilometre effort.
A mistake overtaking his qualification opponent cost the 17-year old valuable time and prevented him from matching the 4:01.535 personal best he set back in Newport.
"I'm happy with my time but there are a few things I'm disappointed about,” said Rolfe, who has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus.
"I think I had a solid ride - I was really calm throughout the effort but when I was coming to lap Victor (Hugo Garrida Marquez) I hadn't lapped someone before in the pursuit, so I kind of didn't know what to expect.
"I didn't know how to carry it out properly so I think getting over him made me use my reserves.
"Then, in that last four laps when I needed to use them, they weren’t there."
But Rolfe was pragmatic about his experience.
"It's a valuable learning curve,” he added. “And I'm glad that I've had it at such a high level where I can say 'oh well I did this and this happened'.
"I think it's a good thing that it has happened rather than when it's an even bigger stage like in a gold medal ride-off.”
Coach John Hewitt said, "I'm happy with Louis' overall performance - he's a development athlete who represented himself very well.”
Rolfe is set to compete again on Sunday in the team-sprint, having competed in the man-one position with Jaco Van Gass and Jon Gildea at Newport.
The UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships continue on Saturday with more pursuit action in the C4, C5 and B categories. Dame Sarah Storey returns to the track following her win in the 500 metre time trial on Thursday, aiming at extending an unbeaten run in the pursuit that stretches back to 2006.
Great Britain’s Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby compete in the B men’s event, while Lora Turnham and Lauryn Therin take part in the women’s B event.
Jaco van Gass completes the Great Britain line-up for day three in the C4 pursuit, following his world championship debut on Thursday.