Photograph:Sport the Library
Australia’s track cyclists will be amongst the first to compete when action gets underway at the London Paralympic Games Fourteen Australian riders are entered for the four days of track racing on the London velodrome including eight reigning world champions and two defending Paralympic champions. Eighteen medal events will be decided, 10 for men, seven for women and one mixed.
“Generally all our performance indicators are on target but all our rivals will also turn up with top form,” said Head Coach Peter Day. “However we feel we’re fairly well placed for our athletes to perform at their best. I don’t make medal predictions but if we perform well the results should come.
“We’ve got a really good mix in the team and every single one of them has earned their ride through international performances over the past year,” said Day.
Athletes will compete in six classifications on the track, B for the visually impaired who will ride on tandem bicycles with a sighted pilot on the front and C1-5 for all single bike cyclists. The classification system has changed since the 2008 games with fewer classes. In some events multiple classes are grouped together in the one event and a factoring systems is used to determine the results. This system gives every athlete the same chance at winning and athletes with more significant impairments are not disadvantaged.
Great Britain goes into the Paralympic track events with a legacy of having claimed 12 track gold medals from the 21 contested in Beijing and eight wins at the world championships in Los Angeles in February. They will also be buoyed by a home country advantage.
But the Australians have arrived fit and in form after a successful training camp in Newport, Wales and are keen to impress in London.
Thursday’s first day of competition will feature eight Australians. In the morning qualifying 2012 world champion Alexandra Green from Sydney and silver medalist Canberra’s Sue Powell will line up in the C4 3km individual pursuit while Sydney pair Simone Kennedy and Jayme Paris will compete in the combined C 1, 2 and 3 class pursuit. Kennedy is the world champion in the C3 event and Paris, a C1 rider, was the bronze medallist in Beijing four years ago.
Four time Paralympic champion Kieran Modra will begin his seventh Games campaign with a bid to defend his title in the 4km pursuit. On the front of the tandem will be Games debutant Scott McPhee with whom Modra set the world record last year in Italy. Compatriot Bryce Lindores, who claimed bronze in Beijing, will line up with pilot Sean Finning. Lindores, with McPhee on the front, won the event in Los Angeles this year.
Pursuit finals will be raced in the afternoon along with the finals of the men’s combined C1, 2 and 3 kilometre time trial in which Queensland’s David Nicholas will make his Games debut. The Proserpine resident was the silver medallist in the C3 time trial at the 2012 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles.
On day two Nicholas will be back in action as the reigning C3 world champion in the 3km pursuit while fellow world champions Felicity Johnson and pilot Stephanie Morton begin their campaign. Johnson was the silver medallist in Beijing with previous pilot Katie Parker and this year with Morton set a world record to win the gold medal in the time trial at the world titles.
Saturday kicks off with the men’s tandem time trials where both Australian bikes (Modra/McPhee and Lindores/Finning) will be in action. World record holder and reigning World and Paralympic Champion, Michael Gallagher will race in the C5 pursuit and our single bike women will contest the time trials across two combined events. Paris and Kennedy in the and C1-2-3 500m time trial and Powell and Green in the combined C4-5 event.
The final day of track competition will feature tandem sprinting for the men, pursuit for the tandem women and a mixed team sprint with Australia represented by Sue Powell, David Nicholas and Michael Gallagher.
2012 Paralympic Games – Cyclists
- Carole Cooke (Northcote, VIC 06.08.1961) T2 (road only)
- Alexandra Green (Balgowlah Heights, NSW 02.07.1987) C4
- Felicity Johnson (Melrose Park, SA, 30.05.1971) BW – KilkennyCC member
- Simone Kennedy (Ryde, NSW 05.01.1994) C3
- Stephanie Morton (Moana Heights, SA, 28.11.1990) WPI – Pilot for Johnson
- Jayme Paris (Quakers Hill NSW, 27.04.1989) C1
- Susan Powell (Melba ACT, 30.05.1967) C4
- Nigel Barley (Parkerville, WA 27.09.1974) H3 (road only)
- Sean Finning (Castlemaine, VIC 22.01.1985) Pilot for Lindores
- Michael Gallagher (Sydenham VIC, 14.12.1978) C5
- Bryce Lindores (Nobby Beach QLD, 12.09.1986) BM
- Kieran Modra (Hallet Cove, SA ) BM – KilkennyCC member
- Scott McPhee (Wayville SA 02.01.1992) MPI – Pilot for Lindores
- David Nicholas (Prosperpine, QLD, 01.12.1991) C3
- Stuart Tripp (Northcote, VIC, 13.06.1970) H4 (road only)
Did you know? – Paralympic Games Cycling
- 350,000 - the number of nails used to install the London Velodrome track surface.
- 6,000 - the spectator seating capacity at the London Velodrome.
- 2004 - the year hand-cycling was introduced to the Paralympic programme.
- 1996 - track cycling joined the Paralympic programme at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games.
- 1984 - road cycling appeared on the Paralympic programme for the first time at the Stoke Mandeville/New York 1984 Paralympics.
- 250 - length of the track in metres.
- 225 - number of cyclists (155 men, 70 women) across track and road competitions.
- 90 - road time trial riders start 90 seconds apart and ride against the clock to post the fastest time.
- 46 - number of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) participating in cycling at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- 42 - the Velodrome track is 42 degrees at its steepest points (12 degrees at its shallowest point).
- 32 - medal events on the road in bicycle, tricycle, tandem and hand-cycle classes.
- 18 - number of track gold medals on offer (10 men, 7 women, 1 mixed) in individual pursuit and 1km/500m time trial, men’s individual sprint, and team sprint across a variety of classifications.
- 8 - the road cycling course is an 8km loop that includes the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit and surrounding roads.
- 4 - number of days each of track and road cycling.
|Australian Pralympic Team Website|