There was more success for the Great Britain Cycling Team on the third day of the 2016 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships with two rainbow jerseys won and two silver medals added to the team’s tally.
Neil Fachie and pilot Pete Mitchell won the kilo title for the third year in a row with a brilliant performance in the men’s kilo. With the world champions going last they could only look on as the two Dutch pairing posted excellent times.
The time they needed to beat to win gold was 1:01.780 and after two laps the British pairing were down, but showed all their class and experience to pull it back in the final two laps and claim another set of rainbow stripes with a winning time of 1:00.633 There was also a notable performance from James Ball and Craig MacClean who finished in fifth place at their first world championships together.
Speaking afterwards, Fachie, who has now won nine world titles in his cycling career said:
“There’s always a lot of pressure particularly in a Paralympic year. It’s all about getting the qualification time and getting one over your opponents to show who’s still top. And yeah, we had to go fast today to win it but we pulled it out the bag so I’m delighted.”
Fachie and Mitchell will also defend their tandem sprint title in tomorrow’s racing and Fachie was quietly confident about their chances.
“I know we’re where we want to be, probably slightly ahead of where I thought we might be but we’re in good shape. It’s going to be close but we’ll give it our all and hopefully we’ll be back on top of the podium.”
There was also another world title for Dame Sarah Storey as she claimed gold in the C5 individual pursuit. Having qualified fastest in the morning Storey was up against Chinese rider Jufang Zhou in the final and the result was never in doubt, Storey catching her opponent with five laps to go. Storey later added another medal to her collection with a silver medal in the scratch race, won by Polish rider Anna Harkowska.
In the women’s tandem kilo, last year’s world champions Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott were pipped by a brilliant ride from the Dutch pairing of Larissa Klaasen and Haleigh Dolman who won in a time of 1:06.095. Thornhill and Scott, did though set a new personal best with their time of 1:07.483.
Although they couldn’t quite secure the gold medal they wanted Great Britain Para-cycling head coach, Jon Norfolk, believes the pair can take a lot of positives from their performance.
“I think the girls should be proud of how they’ve raced today. It’s a PB for them, they’ve had an interesting winter and we came here with an expectation of what they wanted to do time wise and we’ve got that, but the bar has been raised by the Dutch tandem, so we need to reset, recalibrate what needs to happen in Rio and carry on with the plan.”
Norfolk also paid tribute to the performances of the whole team with a number of personal bests for the team throughout the competition so far.
“Yeah really happy, we’ve got some good markers with people’s trajectory towards Rio, but it’s a world championships and rainbow jerseys is what it’s all about and we’ve had some good markers and good performances.”