Mark keeps track of progress as ParalympicsGB make it eight cycling golds

London 2012 Paralympian and Cycling UK Ambassador Mark Colbourne MBE at the Rio Velodrome

Mark keeps track of progress as ParalympicsGB make it eight cycling golds

The Great Britain team rounded off their Paralympics track cycling programme in style last night by claiming an eighth gold medal – watched by Cycling UK ambassador and London 2012 star Mark Colbourne MBE.

The men’s C1-5 sprint team made it a glorious finale in the Rio Velodrome by winning the last track event in a world-record time.

There to commentate on their heroics was Mark, a member of the BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra team, who are broadcasting over 80 hours of live coverage from Brazil.

Mark, an active supporter of Cycling UK’s Inclusive Cycling work, struck gold of his own and set a world record in the 3km individual pursuit at the London 2012 Paralympics.

He also won two silvers on home soil – three years after breaking his back in a paragliding accident in the Gower, Swansea.

The 46-year-old Welshman has a lifelong passion for sport. He had good cycling skills from a young age and competed in Olympic-distance triathlons for a number of years before his accident in May 2009.

ParalympicsGB finished with eight gold medals, two silver and two bronze from the four-day track programme in Rio, with more success expected in the road cycling, which starts on Wednesday and runs until Saturday. Here’s a rundown of the top track stories…

Day One

Among the many velodrome highlights for Mark in his role as a radio presenter was a 12th gold for Dame Sarah Storey last Thursday, which saw her succeed former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as Great Britain’s most successful female Paralympian.

Dame Sarah caught compatriot Crystal Lane after only 1,375 metres of the 3,000m individual pursuit final in the C5 category, for athletes who meet the minimum impairment criteria.

The 38-year-old para-cyclist told the BBC: “Tanni’s still a hero to me. To go quicker than London after having my daughter Louisa is the icing on the cake.”

Dame Sarah was only 14 when she competed as a swimmer at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona. She raced in the pool at three more Games before a series of ear infections persuaded her switch to cycling in 2005.

She will also compete in the C4-5 road race, C5 time trial and C4-5 500m time trial this week as she bids to emulate her haul of four gold medals at London 2012 and further increase her tally of 23 Paralympic medals in total.

Britain’s first track gold came from Megan Giglia, who had a brain haemorrhage and stroke while working as a fitness coach four years ago at the age of 27, with a stunning win in the C1-3 3,000m.

Steve Bate – with pilot Adam Duggleby – then defeated Dutch pair Vincent ter Schure and pilot Timo Fransen in the B 4,000m pursuit final.

Day Two

There was more golden glory for GB as Sophie Thornhill, with pilot Helen Scott, won the women’s B 1,000m time trial in a Paralympic record time, while Jody Cundy found redemption after his London 2012 heartache with victory in the men’s C4-5 1km time trial.

Cundy reacted with a furious outburst four years ago when he was disqualified from the same race for a false start after his bike slipped on the start line.

The 37-year-old, who had his right foot amputated at the age of three, even had a pirate's map painted on his prosthetic leg to show the route from London to Rio with treasure at the end of it.

He hunted that treasure down as he finished two seconds clear of Slovakia’s Jozef Metelka in his sixth Paralympics – his third as a cyclist following success in the pool in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.

Day Three

Kadeena Cox became the first Briton since 1988 to win a medal in two sports at the same Paralympics as she took cycling gold.

Cox, who won T38 100m athletics bronze on Friday, triumphed in the C4-5 time trial 24 hours later, with Dame Sarah Storey finishing fourth. Cox, who had a stroke in May 2014 which led to multiple sclerosis, was only 16 months old when Storey won her first Paralympic medal as a swimmer at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

Day Four

The tandem pairing of Lora Turnham and pilot Corrine Hall out-paced their New Zealand rivals to win the women’s B 3km pursuit title by nearly three seconds.

And the final event in the Rio Velodrome resulted in victory and a world-record time for the men’s C1-5 sprint team of Cundy, Jon-Allan Butterworth and Louis Rolfe.

That made it double gold for Cundy after his London 2012 disqualification nightmare. He said: “Four years ago was probably the lowest I’ve ever been – this is probably the highest I’ve ever been.”

The ParalympicsGB squad is competing in a total of 19 sports in Rio, hoping to better the 120-medal haul from London 2012 – with our cyclists already making a significant contribution to the tally ahead of the road racing.

Tomorrow, we’ll bring you the thoughts of Mark Colbourne MBE about para-cycling and the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and we’ll be rounding up the best of the road cycling action later in the week.

 

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