Australia’s Paralympic track cycling campaign has come to a close, with the team collecting six medals across four days of competition on the Rio Olympic Velodrome.
Australia’s six medals came through David Nicholas (QLD) who won gold in the C3 individual pursuit gold medallist, Sue Powell (ACT), Alistair Donohoe (VIC), Kyle Bridgwood (QLD) won pursuit silver, Amanda Reid (NSW) bagged time trial silver and Jess Gallagher and pilot Maddie Janssen took time trial bronze.
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On the final day of competition, the pursuit trio of Sue Powell, David Nicholas and Alistair Donohoe, joined forces for sixth in the mixed C1-5 team sprint.
Powell led the team out of the gate with the fifth fastest opening lap before swinging up for Nicholas (16.787) to come through and finally Donohoe who clocked 15.834 to give the Australians a final time of 55.308 and sixth place. Great Britain set a world record in qualifying and again in the final to claim the gold medal.
Great Britain also won the 3km tandem pursuit, with Jess Gallagher and pilot Maddie Janssen, set the pace over the first kilometre but went on to finish ninth overall.
In the final event, Matt Formston and pilot Nick Yallouris claimed sixth in the tandem kilometre time trial final won by the Netherlands.
— AUS Paralympic Team (@AUSParalympics) September 11, 2016
Para-cycling Head Coach Peter Day says the track has delivered some memorable results for the program.
“Obviously David Nicholas’ breakthrough Paralympic track gold medal was a highlight of the team’s performance this week especially considering he missed 2015 track worlds due to a serious bout of pneumonia,” Day said. “The win is a great reward for his commitment and dedication.
“Another great result came from the newest member of our team, Amanda Reid, who crossed from swimming less than a year ago and this week won the silver medal in the 500-metre time trial.
“It’s also very exciting for Jess (Gallagher) to get on the podium in her first Games on the bike and for her pilot Maddie (Janssen) who is racing her first Paralympics.”
Day was also full of praise for Sue Powell who came into Rio as the reigning Paralympic C4 pursuit champion.
“It was a courageous effort from Sue who knew she was really up against a challenge from the American (Shawn) Morelli who earlier this year took her world title crown,” explained Day. “But nevertheless Sue continued to strive for a level of excellence that we’ve learned to expect from her.
Attention now turns to the road where Australia will have several riders in medal contention when the competition starts on day seven.
Nicholas will aim to defend his C3 road time trial title from London, while reigning C4 time trial world champion Bridgwood and Donohoe, the C5 world championship silver medallist, are expected to shine.
In the women’s tricycle T2 class starter Carol Cooke is the reigning time trial world champion and will also be one to watch in the road race.