Sunday, September 02 2012
ParalympicsGB will be fielding several athletes competing in their first games for the Road Cycling events at Brands Hatch on 5-8 September. With an excellent pre-Games record, medal hopes for the home nation are strong across the various categories.
The largest contingent is in the C category for conventional bicycles. There are five divisions, rated according to the athlete's impairment.
Mark Colbourne will compete in the C1 class in both the time trial (5 September for all C events) and road race (6 September for all C events). The 42 year-old former Welsh international Volleyball player and triathlete broke his back in a paragliding accident three years ago, leaving him with lower leg paralysis. After a spell in adaptive rowing, Colbourne concentrated on cycling. Success in the Wales GP led to inclusion in the GB Para-Cycling team and a Gold Medal in the 2012 UCI Para-cycling World Track Championships on Los Angeles.
South-east Londoner Shaun McKeown takes part in the time trial and road race in the C3 class. A keen cyclist since his teens, success for the British team in the Beijing Games inspired Shaun to attend a Paralympic Potential Day in 2009. Subsequent development led 32-year-old Shaun, who has cerebral palsy, to a Gold Medal in the 1km time trial at the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Cup in Spain.
Jon-Allan Butterworth will also be taking part in the time trial and road race. The former RAF Weapons Technician lost his left arm in a rocket attack on Basra Air Station five years ago. Spurred on by events in Beijing a year later, Butterworth had already shown interest in Para-Cycling and was selected for a talent programme in 2009. Gold Medals followed for the 26-year-old in the 2011 and 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in the C5 1km time trial.
Crystal Lane is expected to make her Paralympic Road Cycling debut at Brands Hatch in the C5 category. The 26-year old was inspired by fellow competitor Sarah Storey's performance in Beijing and less than two years ago was accepted into British Cycling's GB Para-Cycling team in the 'talent' section. Taking Bronze in the Road Race at the 2011 World Championships in Roskilde, Crystal will be aiming for Gold.
Meanwhile in the other divisions, Handcyclist Karen Darke will be contesting the time trial (5 September) and road race (7 September). The Inverness-based 41-year-old sustained a spinal cord injury 19 years ago in a rock-climbing accident, leaving her paralysed from the chest down. However this did nothing to dampen her spirit and her subsequent achievements include completing the London Marathon, climbing the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and El Capitan, kayaking, cycling the length of Japan and becoming the 2009 World Para-Triathlon Champion. Karen has acquired many medals in Para-Cycling but so far Gold has eluded her. Following the Paralympics, she aims to ski to the South Pole.
Finally, Tandem Cyclists Fiona Duncan and Lora Turnham will take on the time trial on 5 September and road race on 8 September. Pilot Fiona enjoyed success in cycling with the GB Police team before meeting Tandem sprinter Neil Fachie in 2010. Later that year the 35-year-old teamed up with Fachie's partner Lora Turnham, who had been cycling for just a year. The 24-year-old had already won her first World Championship medal just six weeks after taking up the sport! The team then took silver in the 3km pursuit at the 2011 World Championships in Italy, before claiming Gold in the B time trial in the 2012 UCI Para-Cycling World Cup in Spain.
Click here to check availability for tickets to the Paralympic Road Cycling events at Brands Hatch.
Please note: this event is organised by LOCOG and only official London 2012 tickets are valid for admission. Any MSV-issued passes, for example media, residents' and season passes, are NOT valid for admission.