The final day of cycling action at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics saw the Women’s B Road Race take place on the circuit and the roads surrounding the Fuji International Speedway. Stirling's Jenny Holl and her stoker Sophie Unwin were attenpting to build on their Bronze won in the Individual Pursuit last week, as well as their fifth place in the Time Trial that saw them narrowly miss out on a medal.
The early stages of the race saw four tandems stick together in the group at the front, with the other British tandem of Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall struggle with mechanical issue. By the 52km mark – the end of the fourth of seven laps the four became three as Holl and Unwin had made the selection alongside the Swedish and Irish tandems that performed well in Tuesday’s time trial.
Fachie and Hall had almost made it back to the front group, after catching the Polish bike which was fourth on the road the gap was cut to the front group including Unwin and Hall to only 13 seconds with two laps or 26km to go. However, the pairing clearly pushed too hard in their attempt to chase back onto the leap group as they lost nearly two minutes in the following lap as they dropped out out of medal contention to finish in a respectable fifth place – over four minutes behind the medal places.
The front three kept the pace high on to the final lap and stayed together, despite Holl and Unwin being slightly distanced midway through the race. The Swedish tandem attempted a soft attack on some of the climbs – fearing the sprint of Holl and Unwin, however it did not break the British pairing. Some poor TV direction meant that we were unable to see the winning move, but the Irish pairing of Dunlevy and McCrystal that won the Time Trial on Tuesday launched an attack sometime in the final 2km that created an unassailable gap to win Gold.
A two-up sprint between the Swedish and British tandems would decide the silver medal, in which the duo of Holl and Unwin were able, despite their relative inexperience, to hold off the Swedish bike to claim the Silver medal.
“It was a really tough race right from the start,” said 27-year-old Unwin.
“The descents were really hard, but we managed to get down them and once we were in that front group, we just aimed to stick in that group as long as we can and it worked for us.
“We weren't expecting to come to this Games, so to come away with two medals is just incredible.”