Published: 28 August 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Great Britain tandem duo Corrine Hall and Lora Turnham want UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championship gold just six months after first riding together.
London Paralympian Turnham, who has a hereditary sight loss condition, will compete in the B time trial and road race events in Baie-Comeau, Canada with Hall as her pilot.
Hall, 22, had previously been part of the Great Britain team as a youngster on the Olympic Development Programme and only began riding with Turnham in March on a training camp in Majorca.
Two golds followed in the road race and time trial at June’s UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Sergovia, Spain before more time trial success in the final round of the series in Matane, Canada combined with fourth in the road race saw the pair take the overall series win.
But with the world championships coming less than a week after their world cup expliots the focus has quickly shifted to completing a notable double.
“I’m looking forward to it, I love racing, that’s what I want to do but the nerves are starting to kick in a bit now, the worlds is the big one, it’s what we’ve been focusing on all year,” Turham said.
“It’s nice because someone else is going through the same thing and it’s nice to talk about it and reassure each other. But at the same time I don’t want to let Corinne down. I know she wants to do as well as I want to do.
“It’s hard, if it was just me I’m in control of my own performance, but we’re both in control of each other but I do like having that other person to share it all with.”
Hall admits it has been a whirlwind journey from first riding on a tandem to now having the opportunity of a world championship title and rainbow jersey.
“I didn’t expect it would happen this quickly, Majorca happened in March and I went out there to see what happened,” Hall explained. “Since then it’s all been go, I’ve raced in Belgium, got selected for the Segovia world cup and now the world championships.
“I’m really excited for the worlds, really looking forward to it, but nervous at the same time. Lora and I have an idea of how we can do, it’s just getting out there and performing.
“It would mean the world to me to have the chance to go for a world championships jersey. I never thought I’d have the opportunity this year so to be going to the worlds is amazing, but to hopefully medal or potentially get the jersey would be the best thing ever.
“I know it would mean the world to Lora, she’s never had a world jersey and I know she didn’t have the best of times at the Paralympic Games either.”
At last year’s London Paralympics Turnham was denied a medal with pilot Fiona Duncan, finishing fourth in both the kilo and pursuit on the track before ending seventh in the road race and eighth in the time trial.
From 29 August-1 September, the 25-year-old is aiming to make amends and in Hall feels she has the perfect partner.
“She’s been brilliant,” Turnham said. “I went for a ride with her when she first went out to Majorca. She actually came to pilot Aileen [McGlynn] rather than me, but we got on so well on that first day, so we went out again, and then our coach realised the potential and we raced in Belgium together and won there.
“We’re similar riders and we click well together on the tandem. It’s been good to have these experiences to give me back my confidence on the tandem.
“I know what I need from the pilot so I’m able to tell her that but it seemed to come naturally to her, to instinctively know what to do. She’s got a lot of solo bike experience and I have the tandem experience, together we make a good pairing.
“I want to get what should have been mine last year. 2016 is on my mind. This year I needed to show that I am a strong rider. It’s been a brilliant year so far, I couldn’t have asked for more, I feel a lot more confident and stronger than I have in a long time, training is going well and we’re in a good place. I just don’t want to get complacent, we’ll keep pushing on.”
For Hall, it has been a welcome but unexpected return to the international scene for a rider well known on the domestic circuit.
“Six months ago, I never thought I’d be back on the GB squad, especially not on the para-cycling side. I’d been interested for a while but I’d never bothered trying to get involved with it, so I was really happy when they got in contact with me to see if I wanted to give it a go. It was too good an opportunity to say no.
“I went out to Majorca with the squad I never thought I’d be going to the worlds and since racing I never thought Lora and I were going to be as successful as we have been.
“Going to our first world cup in Segovia in June, I was expecting to go out there and see what happened, not to win both races and get selected for the worlds, it’s been a massive change for me but one that I’ve been enjoying.”