Dame Sarah Storey is expecting tactics to come into play as she looks to defend her C5 road race and time trial world titles at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Emmen this week.
Storey has done the double at six previous world championships, but believes that the flat nature of the courses in the Netherlands, plus the ever-increasing standard in the women’s C5 category, will make replicating that feat a tough assignment.
“As defending champion in both events, my targets for this week are very much focused on the defence of those titles. The courses are expected to be pretty flat, so power and speed will be crucial. I don’t think we have had a Worlds with so little elevation before, so the road race will be tactical too.”
As Britain’s most successful female Paralympian and the winner of over 30 world titles, Storey is no stranger to the top step of the medal podium. She says that the development of the category is making the competition stronger every year, though.
“We have a growing class of C5 riders, with new competitors getting classified every year,” she adds. “The results of this year’s World Cups have been interesting to see, with the medals spread across a number of different riders.
“The 2013 and 2017 road world champion, Kerstin Brachtendorf, won the World Cup this year, and Anna Harkowska – a former time trial world champion – is on great form as always. The USA always have a strong team and have really improved under the guidance of their head coach Sarah Hammer.
“As a Great Britain team, we have myself and Crystal Lane-Wright riding, so will hopefully be equally as strong, given we were both in the break last year.”
Storey has spent the majority of the summer in the colours of her eponymous Storey Racing team, riding domestic races in Britain, and says that her preparations for Emmen have gone well.
“Racing in the UK is a great way to prepare for the para events, and this summer I have ridden strongly as the season progressed. My breakaway at the Tour of the Reservoir was a tough day out but really showed my racing condition was getting better, and I was in the break again at Eastbourne, later on in the season.
“I have recently been in the lab with my coach Gary Brickley and the wind tunnel at the Boardman Performance Centre. All the stats are better than expected so I’m excited for the final few races of the road season now.
“I spent most of August on a road camp so that there were no interruptions. Some riders prefer to race all the way through to a big event, whereas I like to have a big block of training and a couple of races closer to the competition. I raced a lot in April, May and June, so training was the main focus in July and August.”
The UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships take place between September 12 and 15. Storey will defend her time trial title on the first morning of competition, before contesting the road race on the afternoon of September 14.