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British cyclists led the medal charge in Beijing, winning 17 golds and three silvers to finish top of the Cycling medal table and confirming that Great Britain are a leading nation both on the Road and the Track. They went on to achieve similar success in London, topping the Track medal table again.
Amongst the outstanding British team at Beijing 2008, Darren Kenny and Sarah Storey were particularly notable on the Track. Kenny brought home four gold medals, while Sarah Storey’s winning time in the LC1-2/CP4 Individual Pursuit was good enough that it would have secured her a top 8 finish at the Olympic Games. Kenny and Storey also competed on the Road – a discipline in which David Stone excelled, bringing home two golds.
Since Beijing, British cyclists have continued to dominate on the Track and are also highly competitive on the Road.
At the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in February 2012, the British team topped the medal table, winning 17 medals in total. Gold medallists included Cycling stalwart Darren Kenny, swimmer-turned-cyclists Jody Cundy and Sarah Storey and relative newcomer to the team Mark Colbourne.
In Road Cycling, GB won 10 medals (two gold, two silver and six bronze) at the 2011 World Road Cycling Championships. These included medals for Sarah Storey, David Stone and Mark Colbourne.
At London 2012, Sarah Storey won ParalympicsGB's first gold medal on day one of the Games in the C5 3km Pursuit. This was the first of an incredible haul of four gold medals from four events for Storey, two on the Track and two on the Road.
The gold rush continued on the Track, with Mark Colbourne winning the C1 Individual Pursuit, Neil Fachie and Barney Storey winning the Individual B 1km Time Trial and Anthony Kappes and Craig Maclean winning the Individual B Sprint. There were also medals for Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott, Shaun McKeown, Darren Kenny, Jody Cundy, Rik Waddon, and ex-RAF technician Jon-Allan Butterworth who was identified by British Cycling when Battle Back brought him to a BPA Talent ID Day.
At Brands Hatch, David Stone successfully defended his T1-2 Road Race title from Beijing, adding to Storey's two golds for the British team's Road events. Mark Colbourne added a silver medal to his gold and silver from the Track in the Individual C1 Time Trial, and there was success for GB's handcyclists as Karen Darke secured a silver medal in the Individual H1-2 Time Trial and Rachel Morris took bronze in the Individual H1-3 Road Race.
- First year at a Paralympic Games:
New York 1984 (Road events for athletes with cerebral palsy)
Seoul 1988 (Road only on the programme, athletes who have visual impairments only).
Barcelona 1992 (Road only on the programme, different impairment classes included).
Atlanta 1996 (Track cycling added to the programme).
Athens 2004 (Handcycling added to the programme).
- Brief history:
- Cycling was first developed by cyclists with visual impairments who competed on tandem bicycles. Since then, Cycling has continued to grow and the Paralympic programme has grown to accommodate high levels of international interest in competitive Cycling.
- Eligible impairment groups:
- All physical impairment groups and athletes with visual impairments
- London medal table - Track:
1 - Great Britain (five gold, seven silver, three bronze)
2 - China (five gold, one silver, three bronze)
3 - Australia (four gold, two silver, two bronze)
- London medal table - Road:
1 - USA (five gold, three silver, four bronze)
2 - Germany (four gold, six silver, two bronze)
3 - Italy (four gold, three silver, three bronze)
4 - Great Britain (three gold, two silver, two bronze)
- GB medals in London - Track:
Sarah Storey, gold, C5 3km Pursuit and gold, Individual C4-5 500m Time Trial
Mark Colbourne, gold, C1 Individual Pursuit and silver, C1-3 1km Pursuit
Neil Fachie and Barney Storey, gold, Individual B 1km Time Trial and silver, Individual B Sprint
Anthony Kappes and Craig Maclean, gold, Individual B Sprint
Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott, silver, Individual B 1km Time Trial and bronze, Individual B Sprint
Shaun McKeown, silver, C3 Individual Pursuit
Jon-Allan Butterworth, silver, C4-5 1km Time Trial and silver, C5 Individual Pursuit
Darren Kenny, Rik Waddon and Jon-Allan Butterworth, silver, Mixed C1-5 Team Sprint
Darren Kenny, bronze, C3 Individual Pursuit
Jody Cundy, bronze, C4 Individual Pursuit
- GB medals in London - Road:
Sarah Storey, gold, Individual C5 Time Trial and gold, Individual C4-5 Road Race
David Stone, gold, T1-2 Road Race and bronze, T1-2 Time Trial
Mark Colbourne, silver, Individual C1 Time Trial
Karen Darke, silver, Individual H1-2 Time Trial
Rachel Morris, bronze, Individual H1-3 Road Race
- Did you know:
- Until Athens in 2004, GB had never won a Paralympic gold medal in Cycling. In 2004, GB won three (Aileen McGlynn and Ellen Hunter in the B1-3 Tandem 1km Time Trial and Darren Kenny in CP3 3km Individual Pursuit and the CP3/4 1km Time Trial). Then, in Beijing, GB won 17.
- London 2012 venue:
Track - Velodrome, Olympic Park
Road - Brands Hatch
- Rio 2016 venue:
Track - Rio Olympic Velodrome (Barra Zone)
Road - Flamengo Park (Copacabana Zone)
Paralympic cyclists compete under exactly the same rules and conditions as their counterparts at the Olympic Games.
Track events are:
- 1km Time Trial (known as the kilo) begins with a standing start and athletes compete against the clock to complete the 1km distance in the fastest time.
- Tandem Sprint: The first round is a 200m Time Trial, with the eight fastest pairs progressing to the knockout stages. The event then becomes a head-to-head knockout in a ‘best of three’ contest over three laps. This is a highly tactical ‘cat and mouse’ event, with riders jockeying for position before committing themselves to sprint for the line.
- Team Sprint: Contested over three laps of the track by two teams of three riders. Teams start at opposite sides of the track and each rider must lead for one lap. The front rider pulls out of the way at the end of each lap leaving the next rider to take over at the front. The third and final front rider sets the team time when he crosses the finishing line at the end of the third lap.
- 3km and 4km Individual Pursuit (two events): Competitors start on opposite sides of the track and attempt to catch their opponent. The four athletes with the best times in the opening round progress to the next round, where first races second fastest for gold and silver and third races fouth for bronze. If a competitor catches and passes the opponent, they win the race – although they may choose to continue, usually to try to set a record.
Road events are contested over varying numbers of laps of a closed road circuit ranging from 6km to 15km in distance:
- Road Race: Races have a bunched start and the first rider to cross the finishing line wins.
- Time trial: Competitors start at 60-second intervals and the rider completing the distance the fastest is declared the winner.
Since Beijing the classifications for Cycling have changed. The new classifications are more straightforward:
• B indicates a cyclist who is blind or has a visual impairment riding a tandem
• H indicates a handcyclist
• T indicates a tricyclist
• C indicates a cyclist riding a bicycle
Road cyclists compete on handbicycles, tricycles, tandem bicycles or bicycles according to their functionality. On the Track, cyclists ride either tandem bicycles or bicycles.
Handcycle events are for athletes who are amputees, have paraplegia or tetraplegia. They are classified as an H1, H2, H3 or H4, with H1 being the most severely impaired. H1, H2 and H3 cyclists will all compete in a lying position, whereas H4 cyclists compete in a kneeling position.
Tricycle events are for those cyclists who have a neurological condition or impairment which has a comparable effect on their cycling so that they are not able to compete on a standard bicycle. There are two classifications of tricycle: T1 and T2. Of these, T1 is for the more severely impaired athletes.
Athletes who have visual impairments ride tandem bicycles with a guide. They may have any level of visual impairment between no light perception in either eye through to a visual acuity of 6/60 and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees.
Cyclists who can ride a bicycle will compete in classes C1-5, with C1 being the most severely impaired. C5 athletes are usually single arm amputees or have a neurological impairment with minimum effect. In contrast, C1 riders will have multiple amputations or a high level of neurological impairment.
Some Cycling events are also factored. This happens when cyclists from different classes compete against each other and means that the results take into account the severity of the impairments of each competitor. As a result, some riders within an event will have their times ‘factored’ while other riders will not. The gold medal goes to the athlete with the fastest time after all the required times have been factored.
In 2012 factored events will be:
- Track: C1-2-3 kilo men, C1-2-3 kilo women, C4-5 kilo men, C4-5 kilo women
- Road: H1-2 time trial women, C1-2-3 time-trial women, T1-2 time trial mixed