Cycling: Sarah Storey wins Team GB's first gold medal of the Paralympic Games

 

Sarah Storey won Great Britain's first gold medal of the XIV Paralympics with a supreme victory in the women's C5 three-kilometres individual pursuit at the London 2012 velodrome.

After Mark Colbourne won silver in the men's C1-2-3 one-kilometre time-trial, fastest qualifier Storey caught final opponent Anna Harkowska of Poland after six and a half of the 12 laps to triumph to rapturous applause from the 6,000-capacity partisan crowd.

The 34-year-old from Manchester won her eighth Paralympic title and third as a cyclist in a career which began as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona in 1992.

Storey was in contention for the Olympic team pursuit squad until last December and her heat time of three minutes 32.170 seconds was quicker than Joanna Rowsell's time in winning Track World Cup on the same track in February as she confirmed her status as favourite.

Crystal Lane qualified fourth and had to settle for a place outside the medals, finishing in 4mins 02.773secs as New Zealand's Fiona Southorn claimed bronze in 3:55.867.

Storey said the victory was not as easy as it looked.

""Mentally you've got to prepare, anything can happen," she told Channel 4. "I have to respect all my competitors.

"I didn't expect to be able to catch her as quick as I did, I stepped my game up as well.

"So much goes into it emotionally that nothing's ever easy at this level."

Asked what she was thinking as she chased down her opponent, she said: "Just, 'gotta get there quick, quick, quick!'

"I was like, 'It's not gonna be this lap, maybe the next lap...'

"You're just willing the rider to come to you as quick as possible so you can just finish."

Storey now has another three events to prepare for.

"I always said if I could get off to a really great start that would set me up for the rest of the week and hopefully that's the case," she said.

"The first one's always the hardest to get out of the way and to come away with a gold medal is a dream come true."

PA

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