Home favourite Caroline Groot produced a spellbinding performance to beat British legend Dame Sarah Storey on the first day of competition at the Para Cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
Groot recorded a time of 36.464 to win the women’s 500m time trial C5, only 0.46s off the world record Chinese Ju Fang Zhou set at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
What made the victory even more special was that Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands was watching and cheering for Groot from the tribunes.
"Becoming a world champion for the second time is of course very beautiful. Now, with my family and the attention of the Princess and all the press present, it is actually much more beautiful than in Rio (2018 Worlds),” Groot said.
The silver medal went to enrich the already vast collection of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian Storey.
“Great start to the track worlds for me! And (as an added bonus??!!!) I get 4.5 hours between the race and the podium presentation so I’m off to have a shower, wash my hair, dry my hair, have dinner and mess about with the kiddiwinks,” tweeted Storey (@DameSarahStorey) after the race.
Marie Patouillet of France was third.
Two world records set
Australian Paige Greco made history by establishing a world record of 4:00.20 in the women’s individual pursuit C3. Germany’s two-time Paralympic silver medallist Denise Schindler ended second while Sweden’s Anna Beck claimed third.
The second world record of the day was set by Paralympic swimming champion Ricardo Ten Argiles in the men’s individual pursuit C1. The Spaniard, who recently switched to cycling and has rapidly became the best in his category, clocked 3:50.05.
“Incredible, I can’t believe it! Another world title, for the second consecutive year. Wearing again the rainbow jersey is fantastic, I’m even happier than last year!” he said.
China’s Zhangyu Li and Canada’s Ross Wilson completed the podium. Germany’s five-time Paralympic gold medallist Michael Teuber surprisingly failed to reach the final.
Paralympic champions on the podium
China’s two-time London 2012 champion Sini Zeng topped the podium in the women’s individual pursuit C1. She was followed by Colombian Carolina Munevar and New Zealand’s Sarah Ellington.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Tristen Chernove was the favourite to win the men’s individual pursuit C2 but was defeated by Australian Darren Hicks in the final race. Alejandro Perea Arango gave Colombia a second medal by taking bronze.
More information is available on UCI’s website. Full results are tweeted on @UCI_paracycling.