Sarah Storey became Britain’s most decorated Paralympian this afternoon as she crushed her opponents to take the Women’s C4-5 Road Race at Brands Hatch, and with it the eleventh gold of her career.
Storey’s tally puts her level with Tanni Grey-Thompson and David Roberts, but sits ahead of both athletes by virtue of her eight silver and three bronze medals amassed on the bike and as a swimmer.
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This victory was her fourth triumph of London 2012, and by far the most convincing. Storey attacked 2km into the 64km event, and held on to win by 7-22 over Pole Anna Harkowskaw.
“To equal Tanni is a huge honour. Her career was absolutely immense, she’s an absolutely incredible girl,” said Storey. “It hurt a lot but it was amazing. I had to make sure I paced myself, I had to control the pace, not get too excited, make sure I ate and drank enough. You can still blow up even if you’ve got five minutes so you’ve got to make sure you do everything right to the line.
“The Americans went off to send everyone up the road one at a time. Kelly [Crowley] was in the lead so I decided to test some legs around the first right-hander. I knew that Greta [Neimans] would be the next one off the front and I knew I could put some distance into her. They sent her after me, but there wasn’t enough gas and I had a bit to spare so I dug in.”
Listing the reasons behind her success, Storey continued: “This year I’ve put everything into my training. I added a few new things, raced more, raced road races more and tried my hardest to make sure everything was perfect. I left no stone unturned from nutrition to training.”
Crystal Lane completed her debut Paralympics with a sixth-placed finish in the race, having missed a chase move that formed on lap four.
Silver medallist in the C3 Pursuit, local boy Shaun McKeown had to settle for 21st in the Men’s C1-3 race. McKeown, who has trained on some of the roads which made up the road race course throughout the year, finished a minute behind Italian winner Roberto Bargna. Triple medallist in these Games Mark Colbourne was dropped early on in the race, and came home in 24th.
After a busy week of competition, Jon-Allan Butterworth retired from the Men’s C4-5 Road Race after 32km. Butterworth, who took three silver medals on the track, was still bandaged from a training crash on Tuesday, but was not downbeat after his early abandon.
“I PB’d in every event on the track, and I think that took its toll. The plan was to sit in and try and get to the end – I always said if I could do that I’d be in with a good chance. It’s just getting to the end is the hard bit,” he said. “Some of these guys have focused just on the road events. They haven’t had five rides on the track to contend with. I’m not disappointed with my performance, obviously with the crash as well. I’m quite glad I started both races, just to roll past the crowds to prolong my Games experience!”
London 2012 Paralympic Games, road races day two
Men’s C4-5 Road Race
1. Yegor Dementyev (Ukr) 80km in 1-55-38
2. Xinyang Liu (Chn) at 0-10
3. Michele Pittacolo (Ita) at 0-13
DNF Jon-Allan Butterworth (Gbr)
Women’s C1-3 Road Race
1. Sini Zeng (Chn) 48km in 1-29-02
2. Denise Schindler (Ger) at 0-09
3. Allison Jones (USA) at st.
Men’s C1-3 Road Race
1. Roberto Bargna (Ita) 64km in 1-42-51
2. Steffen Warias (Ger)
3. David Nicholas (Aus) all at st
21. Shaun McKeown (Gbr) at 1-01
24. Mark Colbourne (Gbr) at 10-31
Women’s C4-5 Road Race
1. Sarah Storey (Gbr) 64km 1-40.36
2. Anna Harkowska (Pol) at 7-22
3. Kelly Crowley (USA) at 7-58
6. Crystal Lane (Gbr) at 14-14
Schedule of events