Great Britain cycling team took the first steaps to repeat what it did two years ago, when the country led cycling’s medal table in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Team GB won five medals on Thursday (March 22) in the opening day for the Rio 2018 Para-Cycling Track Worlds.
The event is taking place at the Rio Olympic Park Velodrome, home of track cycling at Rio 2016, and goes until Sunday (March 25).
A traditional powerhouse in cycling, Great Britain put two atheletes at the top of the podium. Katie Toft was the gold medallist in the women’s individual pursuit 3000m C1, in 4min41s945. Her compatriot Jody Cundy follow suit and was crowned men’s C4 time trial 1km world champion (1min04s579).
“I have been really pleasantly surprised with the competition here. So many volunteers and so helpful make it feels like a proper major competition. To come here and ride as well as I did today feels very good. I need to thank my coaching team, my family, girlfriend… It’s been a fantastic experience and it’s just the first day”, said Jody Cundy, a two-time gold medallist at Rio 2016.
Great Britain also saw good performances in the men’s C5 Time Trial 1km, with Jon Butterworth claiming the silver medal (1min05s850) and the third place of Blaine Hunt, in 1min07s327. Megan Giglia got Britain’s fifth medal of the day when she crossed the finish line in 4min21s413 in the women’s C3 3km individual pursuit.
Competition starts on Friday with the tandem qualification. In the men’s individual 4km, Spaniards Ignacio Avila Rodriguez and Joan Font Bertoli will duel with two British pairs James Ball and Peter Mitchell and Stephen Bate and Adam Duggbley. Brazil will be represented by Marcos Novello and Marcelo Andrade. In the women’s individual pursuit 3km, Lora Fachie/Corrine Hall and Sophie Thornhill/Helen Scott are the favourites.
The programme will also feature women’s time trial 500m finals in the C1, C2 and C3 classes as well as men’s C1 1000m final.
Tandem’s finals, women’s C2 and C3 time trials and 10km Scratch (C1, C2 and C3) finals will take place in the afternoon.
Taking place at the Velodromo Municipal do Rio, the event will count with a total of 171 athletes (50 women and 121 men) from 30 countries across four days of competition. The competition will be the first one to count points for the ranking that will select the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games participants.