Sarah Storey has won the C4-5 road race to claim her eleventh Paralympic gold medal.
Her achievement, sealed with victory at the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit, equals that of wheelchair athlete, Tani Grey-Thompson, and swimmer, Dave Roberts.
Storey had already won two gold medals on the track this Paralympics, with victories in the C5 pursuit and the C4-5 500 metre time trial, and yesterday on the road in the C5 time trial.
Today’s victory was the most emphatic. Storey finished more than seven minutes ahead of silver medalist, Anna Harkowska (Poland), and nearly eight minutes ahead of bronze medalist, Kelly Crowley (USA), at the end of the 64km race.
Storey said: “The Americans went off to send everyone up the road one at a time.
“I decided to test some legs. I had a bit of gas to spare, so I dug in – 62km on my own I just had to control the pace and not get too excited, make sure I ate and drank enough. You can still blow up, even if you’ve got (a lead of) five minutes. You’ve got to make sure you do everything right to the line.”
Storey’s Paralympic career began at the Barcelona Games in 1992 when, at the age of 14, she won gold in the S10 class for the 100 metre backstroke. A second swimming gold followed four years later in Atlanta. Storey would win two more swimming golds, one each at the Sydney and Athens Games, before an ear infection forced her to abandon the water.
Swimming’s loss was cycling’s gain. She has bettered her accomplishments in the pool, an astonishing feat given her record of gold medals at each one of four consecutive Parlaympic Games as a swimmer.
Her strength has allowed her to transcend the boundaries of para-cycling to compete on even terms with able-bodied athletes. She was one of the three-strong squad to claim gold last December in the third round of the UCI Track World Cup in Columbia.
Storey races on the road with the Escentual for Viored squad and earlier this year won the Cheshire Classic.