Dame Sarah Storey became Great Britain’s most successful female Paralympian on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, winning the C5 3km individual pursuit to claim her record-breaking 12th Paralympic Games gold medal.
Storey broke her own world record in qualifying for the event, setting a time of 3-31.394. Her GB team-mate Crystal Lane – who had got a very late call-up to the Games – qualified second fastest to set up an all-GB ride-off for the gold and silver medals.
Storey caught Lane at the half-way mark in the final to take gold, with Lane settling for silver. The victory meant that Storey moved ahead of previous GB Paralympic medal record holder Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
“It’s a bit surreal,” said Storey to Channel 4 TV after the victory and setting a new record. “The first person I was speaking to after the race was Tanni and it’s so nice to see her here. She’ll always be on a pedestal for me, a lady who has really supported me for all my career.
“I didn’t expect to break the world record this morning, this coming week is really really hard. I just keep improving and I can’t really believe it.”
Earlier in the day, Megan Giglia had won GB’s first gold medal of the Games, winning the C1-3 3km individual pursuit. Giglia caught Jamie Whitmore of the USA in the final to take the victory.
It’s Giglia’s frist appearance at a Paralympic Games after she suffered a stroke three years ago.
Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby also made their first Paralympic Games appearance and took gold in the men’s B 4km individual pursuit, overhauling the Dutch duo of Vincent ter Schure and Timo Fransen.
Despite the Netherlands team starting quicker, Bate and Duggleby paced themselves perfectly to better their rivals.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games cycling events continue on Friday with the men’s individual pursuit disciplines, and the women’s and men’s 1km time trials.