Milton 2020: Kate O’Brien breaks world record on day 1

Canadian cyclist shines in front of home crowd at Track Worlds 31 Jan 2020
Canadian cyclist Kate O’Brien competing on the track
Canadian cyclist Kate O’Brien shined on the home track in Milton
ⒸGetty Images

The opening day of the 2020 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Canada, saw several superb performances including three new world records. 

None was more emotional than Canada’s Kate O’Brien taking the gold medal and rainbow jersey of world champion in the women’s 500m time trial C4.

It is a brilliant moment for any rider to earn the stripes on their home track, but for O’Brien it was an amazing chapter in her story as she set a new world record at her first Para Cycling Track Worlds in her comeback competition after suffering a serious head injury.

O’Brien was first of 13 athletes to ride. She went out fast – and stayed fast – setting a new fastest time of 35.223s at an average speed of 51.103km/h over the two laps.

Successive riders gave it their all, but none could come close to the new mark, which broke Brit Kadeena Cox’s record of 37.456s.


The Dutch national anthem is already becoming a regular theme at this year’s Track World Championships.

In the tandem team sprint, Larissa Klaassen and her sighted pilot Imke Brommer set off behind Vincent ter Schure and his pilot Timo Fransen, who immediately took an advantage over the Polish tandem riders. 

The Dutch men crossed the line after three laps in 49.696 sec (54.330km/h), almost 2 seconds ahead of Angelika Biedrzycka and her pilot Edyta Jasinska.

This was immediately backed up with another Dutch win in the WC5 500m time trial as Caroline Groot went more than 1 second faster than anyone else, putting Para cycling legend Sarah Storey into bronze position with an unmatchable pace. 

“It’s a good feeling, I’m very happy with it,” said Groot. “There is no strategy in 500m, you just go!”

female Para cyclist Caroline Groot
Dutch cyclist Caroline Groot Ⓒ UCI - Simon Wilkinson/



The first day of competition also witnessed a great performance from Alfonso Cabello Llamas of Spain, who clocked his third successive MC5 1km time trial World Championships win. 

Great Britain’s Jody Cundy took his seventh consecutive win in the MC4 1km time trial, the world record-holder beating the rest of the field by almost a second.

In the individual pursuit, China’s Sini Zeng and Australia’s Paige Greco retained their rainbow jerseys in WC2 and WC3, respectively. 

Zeng’s compatriot Zhangyu Li finished the day with a world record, gold medal and rainbow jersey in the MC1 individual pursuit. 

A new MC2 world record was also set in qualifying by Belgium’s Edwoud Vromant, who went on to bet the mark again in the final as he took gold. 

In MC3, Australia’s David Nicholas won the tightest of races to claim a fourth successive title and retain his jersey.

Full results are available on UCI’s website

The action from Milton continues on Friday with time trial and tandem pursuit events.