The stand out performer from day three of the Para-cycling Track World Championships had to be Daphne Schrager.
Britain’s WC3 darling stormed to victory in the individual pursuit, making the gold medal ride off in first place and keeping it that way ahead of Keiko Sigiura (JAP).
This is Schrager’s first Para-cycling Track Worlds, though she was on the foundation programme in 2020 and could have gone to the last one in Canada. Give a girl a chance to race and she might just get you a gold.
While one could argue that Australia’s world record holder and Paralympic gold medallist Paige Greco could have gone faster (she was a DNS), and that China’s Xiaomei Wang and Germany’s Denise Schindler aren’t here, Clara Brown (USA), who claimed silver in 2020 at the last Para-cycling World Championships had to settle for bronze against Daphne’s dominant performance.
Daphne was a talent transfer from athletics, just like C1 Sam Ruddock, C4 Kadeena Cox and stokers, Libby Clegg, James Ball and Neil Fachie.
She might do well as a pursuit specialist and we can’t wait to see what she achieves in Glasgow in 2023 or indeed on this track at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Clash of the kilo kings
Yes, Jody Cundy won this World Championship kilo (again, at a certain point you just stop counting how many it is), so did Blaine Hunt (first time), so did Sam Ruddock (ridiculous gains and also first world champion title).
However, you must understand that it’s golden candy with a hidden, spicy centre.
At a Para-cycling World Championships each classification races separately but there’s a secret undercurrent of tension for those with a spreadsheet and the newest factoring system.
That is to say, at a Paralympic Games C1, C2 and C3 are combined into one medal event and the winning time based on a factor. So, Jaco van Gass came 3rd in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games though he put down a world record time. He was beaten by 1st placed Zhangyu Li (CHI) who is a C1 and 2nd placed Alexandre Leaute who is a C2. The more impaired classification you race in, the more time is chopped off your result.
C4 and C5 is also combined at the Paralympics so Blaine Hunt and Jody Cundy, both kilo kings this track champs would be going head to head in Paris.
Except, again they sports governors redone the factors to make them more in line with the development in the more impaired sport classes.
So, when Jaco van Gas won and broke his own world record with fellow competitor and teammate Finn Graham hot on his heels they came top one and two in the men’s C3 and in the factoring system, which bodes well for Paris.
It is worth noting Graham has already won two golds in this champs: 200m and the individual pursuit. He is on fire for the omnium.
Still, without any of team China in attendance and no Zhangyu Li, it’s hard to make a definitive call on the C1-3 1km hierachy.
Cundy held off Blaine Hunt but reigning Paralympic champion and Jody’s total nemesis, Alfonso Cabello Llamas (ESP) isn’t here.
The stage is set for Glasgow 2023 to be very, very exciting.
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Hannah Dines is a Paralympic athlete and journalist
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