After defending his 1km time trial world title on Saturday (19 March) and successfully rewriting the record books, Neil Fachie did it all again on Sunday (20 March), the last day of the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy. The British rider and his pilot Peter Mitchell were the big winners in the men's sprint final.
"I'm delighted, it's a great way to finish the World Championships," Fachie said.
In the scrap for the gold medal, the British duo beat the Netherlands’ Tristan Bangma and Teun Mulder. Fachie and Mitchell won gold in two straight rides, but the title was not secured easily.
"It was a really tough final. We knew that our opponents would be hard to beat," explained Fachie.
"We came out strong in the first ride,” Fachie continued. “Then the Dutch were very fast in the second ride and we thought they were going to beat us. We just managed to edge ahead right at the end.”
Setting the fastest time in the qualification, Fachie and Mitchell, who are also world record holders at the distance, defeated an Australian pairing in the quarter final. They then faced their compatriots James Ball and Craig MacLean in the semi-final. After losing the semi, Ball and MacLean secured bronze by defeating a Spanish duo to join their British teammates on the podium.
Fachie and Mitchell will undoubtedly be the tandem to beat on the Rio track at the Paralympic Games in September.
"We've got great form, but I know what it's like to lose,” Fachie said. “Our opponents will doubtless be working very hard to go faster. So we have to carry on training, seek improvement and hope to remain top of the pile in Rio. It will be difficult, but I can't wait."
Gold and a record for Australia's Gallagher and Janssen
In the women's tandem sprint, the world title went to Australians Jessica Gallagher and Madison Janssen (pilot) who beat last year's world champions from Great Britain, Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott (pilot).
The bronze medal went to the Netherlands' Larissa Klaassen and Haliegh Dolman (pilot).
Gallagher and Janssen broke the world record in qualification with a time of 11.045, beating the previous best of 11.112 established by their compatriots Brandie O'Connor and Breanna Hargrave at the World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico in April 2014.
Great Britain wins team sprint
The British added another title to their collection on Sunday, winning the class C team sprint. They defeated the Chinese in the final while rewriting the record books with a new world best of 49.230 seconds.
The bronze medal went to Spain, who beat the USA in the ride-off for third place.
Still in class C, Russia's Aleksey Obydennov won the rainbow jersey in the C1/C3 scratch race while Australia's Kyle Bridgwood snatched gold in the C4/C5 scratch race.
Leaving Montichiari with 18 medals, of which eight were gold, Great Britain finished top of the medal table. China (13 medals, six gold) and Australia (14 medals, five gold) came second and third.
"It was a phenomenal Championships for us,” Fachie said. “We have a very strong team. Some of my teammates have been developing in recent years but now suddenly they are podium contenders. We just have to keep this momentum going until the Paralympic Games in Rio."
Complete results from the 2016 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships can be found on the UCI website.