Jody Cundy ( GBR ) – Men’s C4 4km Individual Pursuit – © Christina Kelkel
Jody Cundy smashed his Columbian rival in the C4 4km Individual Pursuit to win his first medal at a Paralympic home games!
He took just 5 laps out of 16 to chase down Diego German Duenas Gomez and secure a bronze. The double Beijing gold medallist was on a mission to claim his medal as he overlapped his opponent and punched the air in victory as the gun sounded to signal the end of the final.
Incredibly, he rode the first four laps of the Pursuit in 1:05.317; which, had he been allowed to ride the Kilo yesterday, would have won him gold. This only proves that Jody has unbelievable form and is performing at the top of his game.
Speaking after the race, Jody spoke of his gratitude for the home support: “I was starting to panic because my legs were completely gone after four and a half laps, but I couldn’t let the crowd down and they carried me home”
“The support here has been more incredible than anything I’ve experienced before! It really has been amazing, thank you to everyone for cheering me on”
“I’m fully committed to Rio in 2016 as I still have unfinished business.”
Mark on the podium celebrating gold
Mark Colbourne today set a new world record as he won his first ever Paralympic gold medal in the C1 Individual 3km Pursuit!
The Welshman punched the air with delight as he smashed the world record he set in the qualifying heat this morning and proudly waved a GB flag in the air on his lap of honour.
He beat China’s Li Zhang Yu with a time of 3:53:88 to follow the silver medal he won yesterday in the C1-2 1km time trial.
Speaking after the race, Mark explained “I’ve trained incredibly hard for this, and I’m just so pleased that I’ve got gold in front of a home crowd”
Mark broke his back in a paragliding accident in 2009, leaving him with lower leg paralysis and a difficult five months of physiotherapy to learn to walk again.
“It’s been a long three years working towards this and I’m thankful for all the help and support I’ve received. I just can’t believe that I’m here!”
Jody prepares in the gate before the gate fails.
Jody Cundy has been denied the chance to defend his Paralympic 1km Time Trial title after officials decided not to allow a restart following what appeared to be a fault with the gate.
He looked every inch the strong, confident rider ready to defend his title in front of the home crowd. As he attempted to pull away from the gate, his back wheel didn’t release on time and it slipped, bringing Jody to hold up his hand and ask for a restart.
Jody had the agonizing wait whilst his coach Chris Furber discussed the false start with the commissaires, as the velodrome was filled with the roaring objections and boos of the crowd.
Despite protests from Jody and his Great Britain coaches, the commissaires concluded that the false start was not due to faulty equipment and instead it was a rider error, so sadly he would not be allowed to ride in the 1km Time Trial and defend his title.
After taking some time to comprehend the official’s decision, Jody came out to the 6,000 strong crowd and explained: “I would just like to apologise; I had an issue with the gate and my wheel slipped”
“I was hoping for a restart but it didn’t go my way unfortunately, and I didn’t get to ride and show you exactly what those 4 years of hard work in training have been about”
“I would like to apologise for my language, I think even over the noise you might have been able to hear it” he explained, to which his fans could be heard shouting for him not to apologise for his earlier outburst.
Given Jody’s unquestionable determination to succeed, he will be sure to not allow today’s events to deter him from putting all his efforts into the 4km Pursuit tomorrow, where he will get the opportunity to show his fans exactly what he has been training for.
Para-Cycling Track at London 2012 Paralympic Games – Mark Colbourne 1k TT C1-2-3 © Christina Kelkel
Mark Colbourne wins Great Britain’s first Paralympic medal as he takes Silver in the 1Km Time Trial on Day 1 of London Paralympic Games!
Mark Colbourne has achieved what would have been thought impossible three years ago after breaking his back in a paragliding accident; winning a silver medal in the 1km Time Trial, setting a new personal best time and gaining Great Britain’s first medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games!
Mark was the penultimate rider to take to the boards for the C1-C3 1km time trial, and despite the pressure of it being his first Paralympic event he looked every inch the focussed, determined athlete ready to give it his all. He looked the epitome of calm as he took to the starting block and didn’t disappoint the crowd as he rode a very fast kilometre, finishing with a factored time of 1.08.471 in second place. Li Zhang Yu of China won gold with a C1 world record of 1.05.021.
Despite knowing he was guaranteed a place on the podium, he still had the nerve-wracking wait for final rider Rodrigo Fernandez Lopez from Argentina to race before he’d know whether he had won a silver or a bronze Paralympic medal on home soil.
Lopez started well but finished with a time of 1.10.689 seconds, confirming Mark’s hopes of securing his first ever Paralympic silver medal in front of a home crowd. His elation didn’t stop there, as shortly after finishing he was told he’d not only beaten his personal best time for the kilometre, but he had also won Great Britain’s first Paralympic medal of the games so far!
Speaking after his silver-medal win, Mark recalls how he felt after his paragliding accident in 2009, “I didn’t even know if I would ever walk again due to the damage that had been caused to my spine. It was a very slow and worrying time for me and my family”
“We have worked for the last eight months towards this and big thanks to all the coaches who got me in the best shape possible. I’m very happy”
The silver medal has certainly given him the belief that he can go for gold in C1 3k Pursuit tomorrow.
Silver; Mark Colbourne (GBR) – Gold; Li Zhang Yu (China)- Bronze; Tobias Graf (GER) – Men’s C1-2-3 1km Time Trial – TT © Christina Kelkel
Lucy Martin Reaching Summit of Shayley Brow Training for 2012 Lotto-Decca Tour – © Paul Francis Cooper
On the first Sunday of the London Olympic Games, years of anticipation, hope and preparation came to fruition for Lucy Martin. As a member of Great Britain’s Women’s Olympic Road Race team, with Emma Pooley and Nicole Cooke, she gave her all on a treacherous, rain soaked, Box Hill Circuit, delivering a well orchestrated plan to help the team’s fourth member, Lizzie Armitstead, to take silver on the Mall and Great Britain’s first medal of the Games.
In so doing, she became the second cycling Olympian from her hometown of Widnes, Cheshire, since John Geddes secured bronze on the Melbourne track as part of a GB team pursuit team, which included Mike Gambrill, Don Burgess and nineteen-year old Tom Simpson in the 1956 Olympics.
Representing her country in the home Olympics marks the highest point so far in Martin’s cycling career, which started when she was fifteen years old, her potential spotted by British Cycling’s talent identification team on a visit to her secondary school. Although she had competed as a club swimmer and school runner, she had never before been involved in cycling, and, doubting that she could meet British Cycling requirements, almost missed the vital assessment session because of a timetable clash with another subject.
Recruited into the junior talent development team, she joined the Olympic Development Programme after winning the National Junior Road Race Championship in 2008.
Now an established professional women’s road racer based in Girona, Spain, with what she describes as the dream-like experience of taking part in the home Olympics behind her, she is very aware that the time is right to focus on new athletic and career targets.
Image © Paul Francis Cooper
I joined her on Lancashire’s lanes whilst she was out on a training ride in preparation for last weekend’s Belgian three-day stage race, the Lotto-Decca Tour. And she told me. “My three-weeks in the Olympic village were amazing – I had to pinch myself as I rubbed shoulders with the world’s greatest, like Usain Bolt. The crowds and excitement of the road race, and Lizzie winning the medal will stay with me forever. But coming home to my family in Widnes has been a really welcome chance to calm down and plan for the future.”
The third stage of the Lotto-Decca Tour involves two ascents of the Kapelmur Cobble, infamous as a regular feature in the Tour of Flanders. And Lucy’s training session took in an impressively fast ascent of Billinge’s Shayley Brow, which, with its 14% maximum gradient, is also a regular lung-tester for St Helens pro-rider Jonny McEvoy (Endura Racing) and Liverpool’s Mark McNally (An Post Sean-Kelly), regular winter training partners of Lucy when the three friends are home from racing and training abroad.
And her work on Shayley Brow went to good use in the tough final stage of the Lotto-Decca on Monday. Chasing an early break, she pulled hard at the front of the bunch for much of the stage, providing strong support for her team’s sprinter, Holland’s Kirsten Wild, who narrowly missed a podium placing with a bravely contested, but frustrating, fourth general classification position.
In career terms, Lucy’s next major target is to negotiate a new professional contract, having learned recently that her current team, AA Drinks-Leontein.nl, (which also includes Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley and GB National Road Race winner, Sharon Laws on its team-list) will lose its sponsor at the end of the season.
Eyeing a number of options for 2013, she is hoping for greater interest in women’s cycling and the personal opportunity to switch from her current, mainly support, position to a team role in which she will be able to chase her own podium places more regularly.
GB Mixed Sprint Para Team - Darren Kenny, Sarah Storey & Jody Cundy - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
The final day of the competition saw Jody racing in the Mixed Team Sprint alongside Darren Kenny and Sarah Storey. The GB team started into the competition as defending Champions and WR holders, however a rule change after last year’s World Championships – allowing fewer points per team – had forced the British coaches to reorganise their Team Sprint line-up. So today’s race was “a complete mystery” as Jody put it before the competition.
Tension was on after the Chinese posted a time of 51.152 but GB’s Darren Kenny got the team off to a great start. With Sarah loosing a little bit of time on lap two however, it was down to Jody to secure GB a ride in the final. And Jody did just that crossing the line in 51.114, only .038 ahead of China.
With both teams that close, it was obvious that the final for Gold would be a tough one for Darren, Sarah and Jody. And disaster stroke at the start of the first lap already, when Sarah slipped through the attachment on her handlebar, which she uses to compensate for the lack of grip caused by her disability. Sarah said “ I slipped out of it in the first banking which gave me an even bigger gap on Darren than this morning. The one thing that has never happened before, happened today, which is very annoying.”
Having issues with her handlebars, Sarah struggled to get onto Darren’s wheel and more importantly into his slipstream. Unsurprisingly then, GB was down after lap two and it was down to Jody again to try to make up the lost time. Unfortunately for him though, the damage was already done and the time gap too big to make up, so the GB team had to settle for Silver in a time of 51.175 behind the Chinese who rode a 50.564. The first time since 2007 that Great Britain has not won the Team Sprint title.
Team GB out the gate - UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships Los Angeles, USA - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
After the race, Jody said “We gave it all, but we lost to the better team today. Unfortunately, we had some issue with Sarah’s handlebar attachment, which had a deadly knock on effect. She lost Darren’s wheel so she didn’t get the benefit of his slipstream and as a result faded more towards the end of her lap. As a consequence, the delivery speed dropped so my lap wasn’t as fast as it could have been neither.”
Looking at the positives, Sarah commented, “We rode the same time (as in the qualifying) with a problem, and that problem cost us a lot of time. However, it would be worse to come away from this situation knowing there was nothing we could do, but we’ve got so many things that we can do now.”
One of these things will be to add more Team Sprint training into their programs, as Jody explained, “I think if we had practiced more, we could have been better. Maybe we have been a bit complacent with the Team Sprint because we’ve always won it comfortably, but we literally did our trial and no practice. Effectively, we had only done one training session in this line up, so it’s probably our own fault for not practicing.”
However, Jody and the rest of the team feel confident that they can win back the Team Sprint crown in London. Jody said: “We’ve got a lot of things technically, that we can pick up easy, free speed. The Team Sprint race has been a lot more competitive than we expected, but we’re not a million miles off from where we were last year and from where we need to be right now. I don’t think we’re out of this at all, I think we’re in a strong place for London.”
Silver on the Podium - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
Although these World Championships have not been Jody’s most successful ones, he emphasized the fact that the London Paralympic Games are his main focus for 2012 “We have been working incredibly hard, but there is still a lot more work to do for London. I’ve defended my kilo title and picked up a silver and a bronze in the team sprint and pursuit, so I cant complain. What has been really amazing though is the support myself and the team have been getting from the fans back home! I’d like to say thank you to all of you, it really does mean a lot to me and I can’t wait to get to London and perform in front of a home crowd!”
Jody will now enjoy a brief holiday with his family in Los Angeles, before returning to the UK and starting his intensive preparations in the run up to the Paralympic Games.