Dame Sarah Storey produced a virtuoso solo performance to claim her second world title at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Switzerland on Saturday.
After decimating the field in Thursday’s time trial, the 37-year-old reigning world champion repeated the performance in the road race. Storey made her intentions clear from the outset, attacking on the first of four laps of the 15.5-kilometre course. One rider tried to follow but Storey was soon effectively locked into another, somewhat longer, time-trial effort.
At the end of the first lap Storey was over a minute ahead, a lead that quintupled by the halfway stage, the multiple Paralympic and world champion eventually crossing the line an astonishing eight minutes and 24 seconds ahead of Anna Harkowska to chalk up cycling world title number 22.
"It was one of those races that could easily have been a totally different race," said a delighted Storey after the win.
"After about a kilometre, I could feel riders on my back wheel and there was a clatter of carbon behind me. I decided that’s it I’m not sitting in the bunch anymore. I just stretched it out and just kept pushing and looked round and thought this is a decent gap so I pressed on and the gap quickly opened up.
"I knew I was going to press on on the climbs to try and drag it out a little bit. When you’re away on your own you just take it nice and easy on the descents, don’t take any risks and just try and enjoy it.
"The worlds before a Paralympic year, in any sport, are the hardest because everyone wants to take the psychological advantage into the Paralympic year," continued Storey.
"Next year will be my third Paralympics as a cyclist, and you need to take those psychological scalps. The next 12 months people really begin to ramp it so it’s a really good indication of where you are and what you need to do."
Earlier in the day saw battling performances in challenging conditions from the Great Britain contingent as the previous days’ sunny conditions gave way to rain.
Hannah Dines followed up her fourth place in the time trial on Thursday with fourth in the T2 road race, contested over four laps of the shorter seven kilometre course. Dines was isolated for much of the race and finished ten minutes and 45 seconds behind winner Jill Walsh of the USA, with Australian Carol Cooke six seconds behind in silver. Jana Majunke of Germany was a distant bronze, two minutes behind.
The men’s C2 road race saw a great performance from Simon Price, who finished fifth in a tight bunch sprint for bronze. The Melton Mowbray man came to the finish in a group of ten as up ahead, Peruvian Israel Hilario Rimas took a convincing solo win, one minute and 25 seconds ahead of silver medallist Maurine Eckhard Tio, with Ivo Koblasa winning the sprint for bronze.
Megan Giglia backed up her time-trial fourth place with the same result in the C3 road race after a lonely 49 kilometre effort in the rain.
There was disappointment for 2014 road race champions Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall, who finished fifth in the B road race. The duo, who took fourth place in Thursday’s time trial, came through in sixth place at the end of the first of five laps and battled to third a lap later.
But as the race wore on, Turnham and Hall fell back to finish fifth, six minutes and 19 seconds behind gold medallists Iwona Podkoscielna and Aleksandra Wnuczek, the Polish pair dominating the women’s B tandem class, having won the time-trial two days previously.
Turnham and Hall’s counterparts in the men’s B event, Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby, finished 10th after a trio of tandems broke away and effectively locked down the podium positions. Bate and Duggleby were behind in the chasing pack and became isolated as the 108.5-kilometre race fragmented, eventually finishing 12 minutes and two seconds behind new world championships Ignacio Avila Rodriguez and Joan Font Bertoli of Spain.
Liz Saul finished eigth in the C4 women's event, one lap down on winner Shawn Morelli of the USA. Saul snapped her derailleur early in the event and had to ride over half of the 62-kilometre race on a spare bike.
The championships conclude on Sunday with the hand cycle road races, Great Britain’s sole representative Karen Darke hoping to improve upon her fourth place in Friday’s H3 time trial.