The incredible Dame Sarah Storey of Great Britain grabbed the headlines on day two of the 2021 UCI Para-Cycling World Championships in Portugal on Thursday, winning the 39th world title of her distinguished career. Storey, 42, dominated the WC5 25.2km time trial, comprising three laps of the Circuito Estoril in Cascais.
Storey’s finishing time of 35:47mins came via an average speed of 42.25km/hr on a hot and sunny day in Portugal, marked by strong winds. She was the only cyclist to break the 36min mark with fellow Briton, Crystal Lane-Wright, taking silver in 36:33. Germany’s Kerstin Brachtendorf completed the podium in 37:52.
Storey was understandably delighted with her victory, taking to Twitter to thank her team.
Incredibly, this was the Briton’s 39th world title across swimming and para-cycling. Storey began her career as a swimmer, competing in four Paralympic Games – Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 – winning a combined total of five gold, eight silver and three bronze medals.
After Athens, Storey switched to para-cycling and has enjoyed even greater success, both on the road and the track, picking up a further nine gold medals across the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics. She’s certainly looking in a strong position to add further success come the Tokyo Paralympics later this year.
Storey’s success headlined a strong day for Great Britain who racked up a further three gold medals thanks to Stephen Bate, George Peasgood and Lora Fachie. Bate, whose fascinating backstory includes solo climbing El Capitan, won the MB 33.6km time trial in 41:11mins, beating France’s Alexandre Lloveras by 8s. Dutch athlete Vincent Ter Schure took bronze just 7/100th second further back.
Later in the afternoon, 25-year-old Peasgood won gold in the MC4 category, averaging an impressive 44.77km/hr en route to his winning time of 45:02. Peasgood finished over a minute-and-a-half clear of America’s Cody Jung (46:47), with Colombia’s Diego German Duenas Gomez third in 47:23.
In the final event of the day, Paralympic gold medallist Fachie claimed victory in the WB category (48:28) alongside pilot Corinne Hall. Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy was second (48:59) with Poland’s Dominika Putyra in third (50:05).
The Fachies are an incredibly successful cycling family with Lora’s husband, Neil, himself a multiple Parlympic gold medallist. That’s not all. Lora’s a fantastic cook and regularly serves up recipes on her website blindinglygoodfood.co.uk
Fachie’s gold concluded the day’s events, which started at 10am with the MC2 category where Frenchman Alexandre Leaute won gold in 35:09 (three laps of the 8.4km circuit). Spain’s Maurice Eckhard Tio and the RPC’s Arslan Gilmutdinov finished second and third, respectively.
That wasn’t the only success for France with Florian Bouziani also winning the MC3 category. But only just. In a race that encapsulated the agony and ecstasy of elite competition, Bouziani won gold in 48:14, just 1s faster than Germany’s Matthias Schindler. Colombia’s Alejandro Perea Arango took bronze.
Perea Arango’s team-mate Daniela Carolina Munevar Florez climbed two steps higher, scooping up gold in the WC2 category. Her time of 28:43 kept her clear of second-placed Maike Hausberger (29:08) of Germany and bronze-medallist Flurina Rigling (SUI) in 29:22.
Canada’s Marie-Claude Molnar won the WC4 category in 41:49, finishing over 2 minutes ahead of silver-medallist Katell Alencon (FRA) with the RPC’s Elena Galkina in third. Thirty-seven-year-old Molnar, who won Canada’s first Paralympic cycling medal at the London 2012 Games, was understandably overjoyed with her victory.
It was all about one man in the MC1 16.8km event as Ricardo Ten Argiles won gold in 24:31. The RPC’s Mikhail Astashov (24:36) won silver, and Germany’s Michael Teuber grabbed bronze (25:07). Spain’s Ten Argiles, who lost both arms and his left leg in an accident when a child, looked strong from start to finish and will be full of confidence come the Tokyo Paralympics. He’s won three gold medals in swimming but victory in Japan would be his first in para-cycling.
Further gold medals went to Sweden’s Anna Beck in the WC3 event – with Elise Marc (FRA) second and Germany’s Denise Schindler third – and Daniel Abraham Geru in the MC5 category. The Dutch rider, who won the men’s road race at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, crossed the line in 43:22, just 3s ahead of France’s Dorian Foulon. Brazil’s Lauro Chaman finished third.
A great day of competition that will be equally as exciting on Friday, with the continuation of the time trials, starting at 10am with the MT2 sport class.
Para-cycling sport classes
C – Cyclist: conventional bike with some minor adaptations
T – Tricycle: three-wheeled bike
B – Blind: tandem
H – Handbike
Each group is divided into different sport classes depending on the severity of the handicap.