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Britons celebrate Para-Cycling medal success

Monday, September 12 2011

Great Britain's athletes picked up ten medals at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Roskilde, Denmark last weekend (8-11 September). The competition is a vital pointer to form for next year's Paralympic road cycling events, which take place at Brands Hatch. Tickets remain on sale until 18:00 on 26 September.

Over 400 riders from 46 countries took part in the event and Great Britain's 10 medal-haul compares well with leading nation Germany's 18. The United States took home nine gold medals, the highest of any nation.

Great Britain's first gold medal came in the Women's C5 Time Trial on Thursday, courtesy of Sarah Storey. The first day of competition yielded a further three medals - silver for Mark Lee Colbourne in the Men's C1 Time Trial and a bronze apiece for Karen Darke in the Women's H2 Time Trial and Shaun McKeown in the Men's C3 Time Trial.

A promising first day didn't translate into solid results on Friday, with just a solitary silver for David Stone in the Men's T2 Time Trial. However there were early successes in the Women's H2 and H3 Road Races on Saturday with a bronze medal for Darke and Rachel Morris. Simon Anthony Price later added another bronze in the Men's C2 Road Race but the best was yet to come with Sarah Storey and Crystal Lane taking first and third in the Women's C5 Road Race.

Sadly that was the last of the medals for Great Britain as Sunday saw very few entries from the nation but there was plenty to celebrate as the athletes turn their focus to next year's Paralympic events at Brands Hatch.

Also competing in Denmark was double CART Champion and former F1 driver Alex Zanardi. The Italian retired from front-line motorsport competition in 2009 after a successful spell with BMW in the World Touring Car Championship. Initially competing in marathon events, he has since taken up handcycling and is aiming to represent Italy in next year's Paralympics.

Zanardi's best result was a silver medal in the Men's H4 Time Trial event, almost ten years to the day after his life-changing accident at the Lausitzring. A message on his website stated: "I came here packed with expectations but also fearing that my rivals would have trained better than me. I come back home with a silver medal awarding me the title of Vice-Champion of World in the time attack while unfortunately today in the in line race my biorhythms were not the best. This morning I have probably eaten something gone bad and this ruined one of the most important days of the whole season.

"Even if halfway through the second lap I lost the slipstream of the four bikers I left the group with, I kept on believing and did not give up despite not feeling at all in my best shape," he continued. This is why the fifth place won at the sprint has a very high value."

Zanardi's continuing achievements in the face of adversity are repeated throughout the field in all of the Paralympic sports. Competing once more at Brands Hatch would make him a very popular character but even the charismatic Italian would have to play second fiddle to home success here in 2012.

To purchase tickets for the 2012 Paralympic road cycling events at Brands Hatch, click here.