Tokyo Paralympics Cycling Stars Shine at Victoria Park
The Australian cycling team were the stars of the Santos Festival of Cycling Santos Paracycling Wheelrace relay in 41 degrees celsius at Victoria Park today, but Mitchell Bails won the event.
The 17 person peloton was facing strong northerly winds before the Australian team, which is loaded with athletes bound for the Tokyo Paralympics, made their mark in the 14 lap race.
South Australia’s Tokyo Games-bound Darren Hicks praised all the riders for keeping it together in the heat after Bails crossed the line in first place.
Hicks had claimed national titles in the time trial and road race followed by winning gold in the individual pursuit in 2018 and 2019. He also broke through on the world stage claiming silver medals in the 2017 world championships in the time trial and road race, a gold medal in the 2019 road race and gold for the individual pursuit on the track.
“We’ve actually been doing quite a bit of work in the heat chamber just to get ready for what Tokyo would be like and it’s a bit of practice that’s for sure,’’ Hick said.
“The whole plan of doing races in the heat is to make us as acclimated as possible for Tokyo.
“It’s warm but it’s something we’ve got used to and what we really ask for is to have a go in front of the crowd and show them what we’re all about.”
SASI paracycling coach Loz Shaw who competed in the Adelaide Track Event at the Superdrome on Tuesday said all athletes are tracking well for the Tokyo Games but a decision on the final team is still months away.
“The team are progressing beautifully and they’re all working really hard,’’ Shaw said at the Victoria Park finish line.
“Now AusCycling are working towards powering towards Tokyo and I’ve got the joy of bringing the new ones in and hopefully get our Paris (Olympic 2024) team sorted, we’re only a little more than two years out from them.
“When I pick someone up to coach them, I look at the attitude they have.
"They just want to ride a bike and it doesn’t matter if some of them have one leg, one arm, they just want to race.”
“They have the same competitive spirit, the able team does, and they just want to win and represent Australia and strapping on that green and gold that’s worth an extra 50 watts (of power) out of the gate."