Pursuit of the Magic 50 – Paralympic gold for Sarah Storey in C5 individual pursuit

When Sarah Storey competed at the 2012 Paralympics, the question was when, rather than if the 34-year-old would win gold in front of her home crowd.

With seven Paralympic golds to her name and 18 medals already in the bag, the Manchester-born former swimmer arrived at her home games targeting an incredible four gold haul.

Her first obstacle was the individual pursuit C5 – the event the then eight-time World Champion was looking to defend after clinching gold at the 2008 Paralympics.

Having broken her world record in the heat, Storey took on Poland’s Anna Harkowska for the chance to win Great Britain’s first cycling gold of the London 2012 Paralympics.

After just 500m, Storey was well ahead, making 1.5s over her rival. Then the five-time swimming gold medallist turned the screw, going past her opponent after just two-thirds of the race to clinch her eighth career gold medal.

On paper Storey’s victory was nothing out of the ordinary, simply what British cycling had become accustomed to when the Cheshire rider took to the track. In reality, it was totally different.

But even Storey herself admitted to being surprised by the manner of victory, saying: “I didn’t expect to catch her as quickly as I did.

“So much goes into it emotionally that nothing’s ever easy at this level. You’re willing the other rider to come back to you as quick as possible so that you can just finish.

“I always said that, if I could get off to a really great start, that would set me up. The first one’s always the hardest to get out of the way.

“Now I’ve got three more events to get my head around. I’ll come back here for the 500 and hopefully do a good performance and see where it takes me.

“I’ve worked out how to get the best out of myself in the four events but when you do a stage race, if you look too far ahead, you make a mistake in the one you’re about to do.”

In typical Storey fashion, she delivered and more – clinching gold in the road race, road time trial and the 500m time trial back on the track.

See the stars of British Cycling #BackToTheTrack at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark at the 2018 TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup series between December 14 and 16. For tickets and more information click here