In its short life, the London Velodrome has been no stranger to high drama, with the high of Hoy’s keirin gold and the low of Pendleton’s sprint relegation still ringing around the Pringle. So déjà vu was the plat du jour on day two of the Para-Cycling on the London boards, with misery and frustration for Jody Cundy in the C4/5 Kilo finding its counterpoint with gold and a new world record for Mark Colbourne in the C1 Individual Pursuit. Great Britain’s Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott bagged silver in the Women’s Ind B 1km Time Trial with Butterworth also taking silver in the C4/5 Kilo. Shaun McKeown and Darren Kenny battled it out in the C3 Individual Pursuit finals, Kenny taking bronze and a new world record while McKeown took silver in the session finale. Day two will surely go down as an ‘I was there’ moment for British cycling fans.
The Women's Ind. B 1km Time Trial Finals got day two underway and Adamantia Chalkiadaki of Greece, piloted by Argyro Milaki, laid down an opening marker of 1:17.619 but with Paralympic Champions McGlynn and Scott of Great Britain and world record holders Felicity Johnson and Stephanie Morton on the start list, the times were set to tumble dramatically.
The Irish pairing of Dunlevy and Fitzgerald were next and immediately carved three seconds off the benchmark, posting a 1:14.315 and the times continued to drop as the session progressed. At the halfway point, two Irish pairings (Walsh/Meehan and Dunlevy/Fitzgerald) sandwiched the German duo of Handrup and Heiny in the medal positions.
Next up was the first GB tandem pairing, Liverpool born Lorna Turnham piloted by Glaswegian Fiona Duncan, who took the stage to huge applause from the partisan crowd. Turnham and Duncan however had a wobble from the gate and were granted a restart after which they posted a personal best of 1:11.479 to drop into gold medal position with just three heats remaining.
New Zealand’s Gray and Thompson were next and recovered from a slow first 500 metres to go fastest with a 1:11.245, pushing Turnham and Duncan into silver medal position. Defending Paralympic champions Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott were next and lit up the velodrome with a strong 1:09.469, the pairing's personal best and just shy of McGlynn's Paralympic record. With just one team remaining, GB riders occupied the Gold and Bronze positions – but the last pairing of Johnson and Morton were current world record holders and world champions, capable of a sub 1:09 ride.
The Australians started strongly, a tenth up after the first 250 metres and built steadily as their ride progressed, stopping the clock at 1:08.919 to take gold and a new Paralympic record, pushing Turnham and Duncan out of the medals and a disappointed McGlynn and Scott into silver medal position.
Speaking to Channel 4 after their medal ride McGlynn admitted that it would have been nice to retain her Paralympic title but was "really happy to get silver and a personal best." 39 year old McGlynn also took the opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous support of the home crowd: "It was amazing - thanks to the crowds who came out to cheer us on - it's a massive help - we're really glad we had that home support."
Helen Scott, who replaced McGlynn's Beijing pilot Ellen Hunter in 2010, commented: "We've had the best year ever this past year. We equalled our personal best on the biggest stage so we'll just keep on working on it and hopefully one day we'll be able to get that gold medal."
The next medal opportunities for GB came in the afternoon session, which got underway with the Men’s C4/5 1km Time Trial Final, promising an intriguing inter teammate battle between Great Britain’s Jon-Allan Butterworth in the C5 class and Jody Cundy in the C4 class. Butterworth and Cundy, record holders in their respective classes, were in heats 20 and 22, with Cundy the last to ride.
The GB pair came into the event as runaway favourites and it wasn’t until heat 13 that anyone got close the world record times of Butterworth (1:07.212) and Cundy (1:05.144); Ishi of Japan the first to go under 1:10 with a 1:09.659 (1:09.241 factored). China’s Ji Xiaofei went closer still, the C4 rider recording a factored time of 1:08.860. It looked as if Butterworth and Cundy were to be in a two horse race for gold – then from nowhere came 18 year old Spaniard Alfonso Cabello, who smashed Butterworth’s world record, clocking 1:05.947 and giving Butterworth, up next in the heats, a real job to do.
The 26 year old from Sutton Coldfield, who joined the GB team via the Battle Back programme after losing his left arm in an air raid in Basra in 2007, took to the track with everything to do. Butterworth gave it everything from the gun, lacking the explosive start of the Spanish rider but closed the deficit as his ride progressed, stopping the clock an agonising 38 hundredths of a second behind the Spaniard to go second.
Liu of China was the penultimate rider to go and slotted into third, leaving Butterworth in a guaranteed medal position, with Cundy last to go, deciding Butterworth’s medal fate. On paper, Cundy was capable of besting Cabello’s ride, with the factoring system giving him an extra advantage.
The Wisbech born rider took the track to massive applause and similar levels of expectation. Cundy exploded from the blocks but suffered a rear wheel slip and requested a restart, adding further to tension in the velodrome. Lengthy dialogue ensued between Head Coach Chris Furber and the commissaries and it looked as if Cundy was to be denied the opportunity to go for gold, the commissaries claiming rider error. Minutes later, to the great displeasure of the crowd it was announced that no restart was allowed – ending Cundy’s Paralympic kilo dream in anger, frustration and bitter disappointment, handing the Paralympic title to Cabello, with Butterworth taking silver.
It was up to Mark Colbourne to lift the mood of the baying crowd in the velodrome, on track shortly after to ride for gold in the C1 Individual Pursuit finals. Colbourne, like Cundy and Butterworth before, was runaway favourite, almost seven seconds ahead of his nearest rival Li of China in the morning’s qualifying session. The 42 year old Welshman, who suffered a horrific paraglider accident in 2009, had already smashed the world record with a 3:53.970 qualifier and backed up his morning ride superbly.
Colbourne started steadily as he did in qualifying, not tempted to respond to Li’s electric start. Slowly but surely the Great Britain rider began to reel Li in – by 1500 metres the gap was under a second and Colbourne’s momentum built to a crescendo, in tandem with the volume of the home support. 2000 metres in and Colbourne was over three seconds up, the Welshman’s pace deceptive, his style unruffled. Into the final lap and Colbourne had Li in his sights, crossing the line in 3:53.881 to break his own freshly minted world record – the crowd taken from misery to hysteria in a matter of minutes.
It seemed that the British crowd couldn’t cope with more drama but the final event of the day, the C3 Individual Pursuit was still to come, with both Paralympic newcomer Shaun McKeown and reigning Paralympic champion Darren Kenny competing in the gold and bronze medal finals respectively.
Paralympic veteran Kenny was first to ride and went out the gate hard – at 1000 metres the Dorset rider over three seconds up on his opponent David Nicholas of Australia, overcoming a qualifying deficit with sheer grit, determination and the composure of a true champion. Superior experience and recovery paid off in magnificent style, with Kenny obliterating the memory of his qualifying disappointment by posting a new world record of 3:35.257 to take bronze.
It was down to McKeown to round out the day for Great Britain, in the gold medal final against USA rider Joe Berenyi, the bearded American setting a new (yet shortlived) world record earlier in qualifying. True to the day’s dramatic nature, Berenyi false started due to a pulled pedal and McKeown had to begin his mental preparation all over again.
Take two and both riders got away cleanly, with McKeown immediately up on the American after one lap. However Berenyi quickly recovered and was ahead by six tenths after 500 metres, taking the fight to McKeown. After 1000 metres the Great Britain rider was over a second down but at half distance McKeown had steadied the ship and began to reel in the American. With only four laps to go it was going to be a grandstand finish but Berenyi responded again and despite huge crowd support, the Great Britain rider couldn’t bridge and gold went to Joe Berenyi, with McKeown taking silver; his first Paralympic medal – a dramatic end to a dramatic day for GB.
Women's Ind B 1km Time Trial Finals
1 Australia JOHNSON Felicity MORTON Stephanie 1:08.919 PR
2 Great Britain McGLYNN Aileen SCOTT Helen 1:09.469
3 New Zealand GRAY Phillipa THOMPSON Laura 1:11.245
4 Great Britain TURNHAM Lora DUNCAN Fiona 1:11.479
5 Ireland WALSH Catherine MEEHAN Francine 1:12.864
6 Germany HANDRUP Henrike HEINY Ellen 1:13.416
7 Ireland DUNLEVY Katie George FITZGERALD Sandra 1:14.315
8 Greece CHALKIADAKI Adamantia MILAKI Argyro 1:17.619
Men's Ind.C1 Pursuit Final
Bronze Argentina LOPEZ Rodrigo Fernando 4:04.559
4th Germany TEUBER Michael 4:10.965
Gold Great Britain COLBOURNE Mark Lee 3:53.881 WR
Silver People's Republic of China LI Zhang Yu 4:01.826
Men's Ind.C1 Pursuit Qualification
1 Great Britain COLBOURNE Mark Lee 3:53.970 Q WR
2 People's Republic of China LI Zhang Yu 4:00.235 Q
3 Germany TEUBER Michael 4:04.700 Q
4 Argentina LOPEZ Rodrigo Fernando 4:07.725 Q
5 Spain MENDEZ Juan Jose 4:15.653
6 Germany WINKLER Erich 4:18.481
7 Canada MILLEY Jaye 4:24.673
8 United States of America ZAHN Anthony 4:38.466
Canada McDOUGALL Brayden DSQ
Men's C1 Individual Pursuit Finals
1 United States of America BERENYI Joseph
2 Great Britain McKEOWN Shaun
3 Great Britain KENNY Darren
4 Australia NICHOLAS David
Men's Ind.C3 Pursuit Qualification
1 United States of America BERENYI Joseph 3:36.148 Q WR
2 Great Britain McKEOWN Shaun 3:36.427 Q
3 Australia NICHOLAS David 3:36.757 Q
4 Great Britain KENNY Darren 3:37.977 Q
5 Russian Federation OBYDENNOV Alexsey 3:43.244
6 Spain GUTIERREZ BERENGUEL Juan Emilio 3:44.303
7 Ireland SMYTH Enda 3:47.542
8 New Zealand SMITH Nathan 3:48.555
9 Japan FUJITA Masaki 3:51.743
10 Belgium BOSMANS Kris 3:52.453
11 Republic of Korea JIN Yong Sik 3:57.694
12 Germany WARIAS Steffen 3:58.919
Men's Ind.C4-5 1km Time Trial Finals
1 Spain CABELLO Alfonso 1:05.947 WR
2 Great Britain BUTTERWORTH Jon-Allan 1:05.985
3 People's Republic of China LIU Xinyang 1:07.638
4 People's Republic of China JI Xiaofei 1:08.860
5 Czech Republic BOUSKA Jiri 1:08.974
6 Japan ISHII Masashi 1:09.241
7 Romania NOVAK Carol-Eduard 1:09.390
8 Ukraine DEMENTYEV Yegor 1:09.558
9 Italy TARLAO Andrea 1:10.175
10 Czech Republic JEZEK Jiri 1:10.578
11 Germany SACHER Wolfgang 1:11.019
12 Brazil SCHWINDT FILHO Joao Alberto 1:11.259
13 Colombia DUENAS GOMEZ Diego German 1:11.527
14 New Zealand ROSS Chris 1:11.569
15 United States of America KAVANAGH Sam 1:11.678
16 Brazil GOHR Soelito 1:13.017
17 Romania TOROK Imre 1:13.774
18 Islamic Republic of Iran GOLBARNEZHAD Bahman 1:13.799
19 Belgium REYSERHOVE Koen 1:14.689
20 Norway JAHR Morten 1:16.043
21 Cuba LOPEZ ALFONSO Damian 1:16.485
22 Great Britain CUNDY Jody DNF