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British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2012

Ride of the Year homepage

The Nominations
Storey rules the road to make Paralympic history 

Event: London Paralympics women’s C4-5 road race
When: 6 September 2012
Where: Brands Hatch

Sarah Storey

How it unfolded

With three gold medals already to her name in London, Sarah Storey had already confirmed her status as Britain’s greatest ever para-cyclist.

Victories in the individual pursuit and 500m TT in the velodrome had taken Storey’s gold medal tally to nine, having won five Paralympic titles in swimming before making the switch the cycling where she had already been a multiple world and Paralympic champion on the road and track.

"To win 11 golds, to make today a clean sweep for this week, is just a dream come true. I don’t know if it will ever sink in. I just can’t thank enough people."

Sarah Storey

She then maintained her 100% record in London with a dominant display in the time-trial at Brand Hatch, but it was the imperious and overwhelming superiority of her 11th gold medal which marked it out.

Storey, 34 at the time, led from the early stages and steadily built up a staggering gap back to her nearest competitor. At the half way stage over the 64km, her lead was nearly five minutes. So much was her ascendancy that she overtook the men’s C1-3 field which had started in front of her.

Eventually she finished in one hour and 40 minutes; over seven minutes clear of second place Anna Harkowska of Poland, giving Storey her 11th Paralympic gold 20 years after she had won her first in Barcelona in 1992.

With 22 Paralympic medals in all, Storey equalled Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain's most successful female Paralympian and also matched swimmer David Roberts' haul.

What they said

“To win 11 golds, to make today a clean sweep for this week, is just a dream come true. I don’t know if it will ever sink in. I just can’t thank enough people.

“To equal Tanni is a huge honour. Her career was absolutely immense and I can’t wait to give her a big hug. I spoke to her and she said how proud of me she was. She said it would have been easy to sit in the group and go for the sprint at the end. But I went as fast as I could.”

Why should this be the British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2012?

Storey was in a class of her own in this race – verified not only in the margin of her victory but when she passed the men’s field on the way. It completed a perfect record in a home Olympic Games for her and was the perfect way to match Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain's most successful female Paralympian.