21 Aug 2007

Wrexham rider Ellen Hunter looks a strong contender for selection to Team GB at next year’s Paralympics after winning gold and defending her world title at the UCI Para-Cycling Championships.

The 39-year-old is a pilot rider to Aileen McGlynn of Scotland who is partially sighted. The pair’s success came on day two of the Championships which saw Team GB haul in three gold medals.

They took gold in Athens 2004 and are now set to be the favourites to beat once again in Beijing.

Hunter and McGlynn – who smashed the World record at the 2006 VISA Paralympic World Cup - bettered their 2006 winning time of 1:10.795 in clocking 1:10.539 in the Women's 1000m Tandem Time Trial. But whereas they won gold with seconds to spare last year, this time they only had two tenths of a second over Katie Parker and Felicity Johnson of Australia.

From Bordeaux, she explained, "It’s tough because we’re at the top and the only place we can go is down. We’re still the World record holders and we’ve held onto our European and World titles but the Australians are improving all the time and they’ve taken a big chunk out of their time in the kilo – they’ve taken more than a second off. The other nations haven’t improved quite as dramatically."

"It’s a nice, fast track but going out last always adds a little bit of pressure," she added.

GB Performance Manager Dave Mellor was full of praise for Hunter’s winning attitude, "Ellen is a really super athlete and can really turn it on."

Team GB features four Welsh riders at the Championships and it is hoped that a second rainbow jersey may be delivered by a Welsh rider, courtesy of Swansea’s kilometre time trial specialist Jody Cundy.

Meanwhile, Porthcawl’s Simon Richardson continues to impress. In his first World Championship, he shaved 11 seconds off his personal best and finished just inside the top 10 in the 3km LC3 Pursuit. Recording 4:08.005 seconds, his performance bodes well for the 1km Time Trial in two days time.