Legend Storey hails para-cycling inclusion at Track World Cup as the way forward
With unrivalled success both in the pool and on the track Dame Sarah Storey is Britain’s most successful female British Paralympian – but her hunger for achievement remains as powerful as ever.
Storey swam at four Paralympic Games in her early career before taking her drive into the velodrome and onto the tarmac, where 23 world titles have followed for the 14-time Paralympic champion.
But with Storey there always seems the will for progression and next month’s TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup in London provides just that opportunity, with para-cycling events taking place as part of the main schedule for the first time at a world cup event.
Nine Paralympic gold medallists will represent the Great Britain Cycling Team in the event at Lee Valley VeloPark, and Storey is pleased that history is being made on home boards.
“It’s great news,” she commented. “I’ve been advocating for inclusion within Track World Cup specifically, but just in general to have para-cycling working alongside the Olympic programmes in competitions for a while now, so it’s fantastic to see that that’s going to happen in the UK and in London.
“I think it will be seen as a success, and hopefully others will follow suit quickly and people will look at it as a success.
“I’m hopeful other organisers will pick up on it as the integration of para-sports is absolutely the way to go forward to raise everybody’s profile and to give the athletes the platform they deserve.”
The para-cycling events – tandem sprints, C1-5 team sprint and C1-5 time trials – will all take place during sessions one and two of the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup, on Friday 14 December.
Storey, 41, could compete in the 500m Time Trial and Team Sprint with Tokyo 2020 qualifying points available.
She continued: “We don’t get to compete in front of a big crowd very often outside the Paralympic Games so for us to be in front of a full house at London will be an amazing opportunity – we’re really looking forward to that atmosphere.
“It’s an unusual position for me to be racing over a short distance in the 500m and possibly the team sprint.
“Normally I’ve got the pursuit to get my teeth into so it’s a slightly different block of training but we’ll see how that affects times and everything on the track from a scientific perspective.
“That will help us make decisions moving forward about the training plans for the World Championships and then ultimately 2020.
“Every time I get on the track I’m aiming to win points for qualification and everything I do is with the viewpoint of getting ready for Tokyo.”
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