Sarah Storey claims 17th gold medal with road race victory in Tokyo

She becomes Britain's most successful Paralympian of all-time

Sarah Storey
(Image credit: Getty)

Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey successfully defended her women's C4-5 road race title to win her 17th gold medal and become Britain's most successful Paralympian of all time.

Storey moves one clear of British swimmer Mike Kenny's previous record and has now won a total of 28 medals in eight Games, 10 more than the next athlete, also Kenny.

The weather was abysmal on the Fuji International Speedway circuit, where Storey and compatriot Lane-Wright reeled in the breakaway before attacking themselves, Storey eventually gapped Lane-Wright to cross the line in two hours, 21 minutes and 51 seconds, punching the air as she took her third gold of this Games.

Lane-Wright took silver, seven seconds adrift, while France's Marie Patouillet won bronze.

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Storey had already won the individual pursuit and road time trial before her latest gold in Tokyo and has not won any medal except for gold since making her cycling Paralympic debut at Beijing in 2008, having previously competed as a swimmer.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed, I feel like it's happening to someone else," Storey told Channel 4 after the finish.

"I can't really explain or compute anything about the race, but crossing the line first felt so good."

"I don't know if it's sunk in. It's something everyone has been talking about since Rio when it became a mathematical possibility with me doing three more events in Tokyo," Storey later elaborated, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But you can't take anything for granted and although I knew I had the capability to shut down the gap to Kerstin [Brachtendorf, who had been in the breakaway], when your legs don't feel as good as they have done in the time trial and then the individual pursuit, then you think today is not my day.

"It's one of those situations where I don't know whether it will sink in when I get home, or whether it will be in a few months or even never at all.

"I just feel immensely proud and also immensely grateful to have so much support and to have such a great team around me and also a great team back at home. They're the ones who are able to make this possible, by putting me on the start line in a position to go for it, so I'm a little bit lost for words in many ways."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.