Britain put on their best Olympic performance last month in Rio. With medals across a majority of disciplines, we really worked hard to make the nation proud. Especially in the cycling events.
It was in the track events that women’s cycling broke records and secured a number of Gold medals. Athletes like Laura Trott came into their own for being the first woman to win three Gold medals.
Having recovered from the excitement of the Rio Olympics, it’s time to get rile ourselves up and get tuned in for the outstanding performances of the Paralympians. The Paralympics begin tonight in Rio with then first para-cycling events beginning on September 8th.
Olympic cycling is rather quite straight forward, however para-cycling can be a little trickier to get your head around. So let’s get some things straight so you can enjoy the games this September.
A Guide to Paralympic Cycling
Cycling was first introduced into the Paralympics in Seoul 1988 after two visually impaired athletes developed the tandem ride. Since then athletes compete in the cycling events with cerebral palsy, amputations and other physical impairments. Paralympians race on bicycles, tricycles, tandem or hand cycles based on their impairment.
Rather than lumping all the para-cyclists together for their respective events, each athlete is assessed based on their disability and type of cycle in order to create an fair competitive race for everyone.
You’ll see the schedule below has a serious of number and letters next to each event, so here’s a guide to help you decipher and follow any particular event you’re interested in.
B1-2: The B category is for those athletes who are visually impaired. They usually compete on tandem bikes with a sighted guide at the front.
H1-5: Cyclists in this category are hand-cyclists. Athletes in the H1-H4 brackets compete in a reclined position, leaning backwards in the cycles. These athletes have no trunk or leg function, and limited arm function (H1). Athletes who have no leg function, but good trunk and arm function fall into the H3 category. Athletes in the H5 category sit on their knees and use their arms and trunk.
T1-2: Athletes who have a disability affecting their balance and coordination ride tricycles instead, and at categorised under T.
C1-5: The biggest category is the C bracket for athletes who are able to ride bicycles. Cyclists may have a condition like cerebral palsy or have a leg or arm amputation. The severity of condition ranges from C1, severe limitations, to C5, athletes who meet minimum requirements to compete.
So you don’t miss a thing, we bring you the viewing guide for all the para-cycling track and road events. Grab your popcorn because we’re expecting some serious action.
Team GB Women’s Paralympic Cyclists
Dame Sarah Storey is a legend who barely needs an introduction. Swimmer turned cyclist, she’s collected 29 World titles and 11 Paralympic Golds over the course of her career. So far. Storey will be taking part in her 7th Paralympic Games. After winning 4 Gold Medals in London 2012, and considering she’s the reigning Road World Champion – we’re hoping to see a similar medal haul!
After taking home the Silver in London 2012, Karen Darke is back. Drake has been spending the past four years pushing her limits in triathlons, Ironman competitions and hand-cycling expeditions across Cuba.
Hannah Dines is one of the newcomers to the Paralympic Games this year. At 23, she’s made a big impact in the tricycle scene already after scooping up the Silver medal in the Para-cycling Road World Cup back in June.
Another newcomer to the Rio Paralympic Games is Megan Giglia. As a former sports coach, Giglia suffered a stroke in January 2013 and used cycling as a means of physio and mental therapy. She’s gone on to win two gold medals at the 2016 Para-cycling Track World Championships, and hopes to take home the win this year. She’ll be taking part in the 500m TT and Individual Pursuit this year.
Kadeena Cox is making her Paralympic debut in Brazil as a track sprinter – but she’s no stranger to competitive sport. She was racing competitively on the running track from the age of 15, but suffered a stroke in 2014 which saw her move from able bodied sport to para sport. Since then she’s moved into cycling, too – but maintained her running roots. This will be Cox’s first Paralympics, and she’s competing in the road race, in the 500metre TT AND running on the track. She aims to become the first Paralympian to take home medals in both running and cycling.
Making her second Paralympic appearance is Crystal Lane. She’ll be racing the 500m TT and Individual Pursuit alongside Storey.
Sophie Thornhill and Lora Turnham will be racing the tandem track event, piloted by Helen Scott and Corrine Hall respectively. Although Turnham competed in the London 2012 Games, her guide Hall is making her Games debut.