Australia’s Paralympic cycling heroes returned to the track in Melbourne on Thursday with the time trial finals at 2017 Cycling Australia Para-Cycling Track National Championships.
Reigning Paralympic pursuit gold medallist David Nicholas (QLD) opened his campaign with gold in the C3 men’s final.
Nicholas, the Cycling Australia Para-cyclist of the year for 2016, clocked 1:12.372secs for the four-lap 1km event to win his sixth straight title in the event.
“Felt pretty good,” said Nicholas. “There were a couple of new guys out there today I don’t know, wasn’t my best ride, but happy with the gold medal.”
Mitchell Bails (SA) took the silver medal (1:26.362).
Paralympic medallist Kyle Bridgwood (QLD) defended his C4 crown with a time of 1:10.170secs. Tasmania’s Patrick Best (1:15.297) and New South Wales’ Stephen Knott (1:23.016) filled the podium.
“Pretty tough out there, wasn’t sure how I would go out there today but I surprised myself out there today,” said Bridgwood who returned to the track after a break following his Paralympic debut.
“Looking forward to the pursuit tomorrow now, a bit more nervous for that though as it is a big longer and a bit more hurt,” laughed Bridgwood.
Allan Gordon (NSW) won the C2 1km men’s final in a time of 1:21.513secs by three seconds over Darren Hicks (SA) who posted 1:24.530secs.
Darcy Thompson (SA) won his second straight crown in the C1 1km final with a time of 1min 21.540secs. In a repeat of last year’s podium, Victoria’s Gabriel Bouris (1:44.355) took silver on his hometown track.
Paralympic time trial silver medallist Amanda Reid (NSW) defended her gold in the C2 500m final in 40.95seconds.
“Felt great out there today,” said Reid, after just her second hit out on the track since her debut Paralympic Games performance. “The time was fastest than state championships two weeks ago so I am happy with that time.
“Just went in trying to be myself, focus, I hit a pad on the first corner and had to reset halfway through which was hard.”
The result continues Reid’s rapid rise in cycling, who only started in the sport a little over a year ago after finishing her swimming career which took her to the London Paralympic Games.
“So much has happened so fast, it has been quite a whirlwind as I have only been cycling for a year now,” Reid said. “I am pretty happy with my results so far.”
In the women’s C3 500m final, Meg Lemon (SA) claimed her maiden national title in a time of 44.056secs. Just one third of a second separated gold and silver, with world championship medallist Simone Kennedy (NSW) clocking 44.338seconds.
In the Tandem events, the South Australian duo Rachel Henderson and Pilot Isabella Dashorst posted 1:14.714secs which won gold in the 1km final.
Two-time Paralympian Lindy Hou (ACT) who will be piloted by Sydney Olympian Kerry Knowler (AC) clocked 1:16.462secs on their way to winning the silver medal.
South Australia’s Kieran Murphy and Pilot Lachlan Glasspool won the men’s 1km Tandem in 1:04.541seconds.
The 2017 Para-cycling Track National Championships is being held at the DISC Velodrome and concludes on Friday 16 December with the individual pursuit; plus the Tandem pursuit and sprint.