4 Oct 2007

A Welsh cyclist’s dream of opening people’s eyes to disability sport moved one step closer this week when he finished in the top ten ofthe able-bodied 1000m time trial at the GB Nationals in Manchester.

Swansea’s Jody Cundy is an amputee track rider who is almost certainly a dead cert for the Beijing Paralympics next summer. While the world record holder has a personal ambition to become the fastest–ever solo Paralympic cyclist, he is also hoping he can raise public awareness of disability sport.

After winning two gold medals at the UCI Para-Cycling World Championships in August, he decided it was time to line up on the Manchester boards against cycling’s able-bodied stars.

Up against World bronze medallist Jamie Staff – who won the time trial – Cundy undertook the kilo in 1:10:

"The profile of disability sport is improving. In terms of cycling, the likes of myself and a couple of others are helping as our times are coming down and are considered impressive on an able-bodied basis."

The 29-year-old swimmer-turned-cyclist was back in action the next day and again raised a few eyebrows by making the semi-finals of the men’s sprint. He was competing against a gargantuan line up featuring Chris Hoy and Ross Edgar.

Cundy is now enjoying a well-earned rest day (Thursday) before he takes on the able-bodied Team Sprint tomorrow (Friday) , teaming up with Barney Storey and David Heald. He will also be lining up for the flying 200m team sprint.

His favoured event, the 1000m time trial, for riders with a disability is scheduled for Saturday. As Cundy is the World record holder, this would be considered routine for the Swansea talent. However, the races are pan-category which means they are measured on how close you get to the World record in your respective category – a tall order for a World record holder:

Meanwhile, Cardiff’s Katie Curtis has also been excelling on the boards, claiming bronze in the women’s scratch race. The race was relatively quiet until 35 laps to go when Planet X rider Janet Birkmire made a lone break but this was gobbled up in three laps when the field regrouped. At 24 laps to go, four riders broke away but the quartet was finally reeled in with 12 laps to go. At the bell, Kate Cullen kicked from the front and took the victory and the title, ahead of Birkmire and Curtis.