WELSH CYCLISTS MAKE BEELINE FOR BEIJING
28 Aug 2007
Three Welsh cyclists are now eyeing the podium at the Beijing Paralympics after becoming double World Champions at the UCI Para-Cycling Championships in Bordeaux.
Following the gold medal exploits of Swansea’s Jody Cundy and Wrexham’s Ellen Hunter on the track last week, Rachel Morris of Pembrokeshire was not to be out-done.
The 28-year-old hand-cyclist took to the road in her first-ever World Championships. The double above the knee amputee – who has rocketed up the rankings over the last 12 months – overcame heavy rain to secure her first gold in the time trial. And she continued her form to take top honours in the road race.
Morris explained, "The road race was held on the same circuit as the Time Trial, four laps making 42 kilometres. It was a really cool circuit. We were all together for the first lap and then the majority of the C category competitors got away from me on the hills and I then used the hills and flat to break up my group and take chunks of time out of them.
"It’s been so exciting racing here - really wicked. It’s been cool being part of the team as well and doing things together as a team."
Wales sent five riders to Bordeaux as part of Team GB – a huge achievement in itself. Three of them are now double World Champions. GB tops the medals table with 17 medals including 13 gold.
Jon Morgan – Director of Disability Sport Wales – explained, "For Wales to achieve six gold medals in Bordeaux is outstanding and is proof that the set-up at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport is working. The future looks bright with plenty of riders already in our Academy system, led by Neil Smith, who are all working for major events beyond Beijing."
While there was glory for Wales, there was also misery. Porthcawl’s Simon Richardson finished fifth in the LC3 time trial but disaster struck in the road race. Caught up in an accident, two thirds of the way through the route, Richardson broke his collarbone.