Southland cyclists Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson have bagged New Zealand's third medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, securing bronze in the Women's B 1km time trial.
The tandem pair finished just two hundredths of a second ahead of the fourth placed pair from Great Britain, and behind two dominant crews.
Australia claimed gold in 1:08.91, Great Brittan snared silver in 1:09.46 with Gray and Thompson in 1:11.24.
Coach Brendon Cameron chose to adopt a larger gear for the race and judging by the result the decision was spot on, as the tandem two powered down the final 500m as their competitors petered out.
"We know our 500 is really good, but at the time you've got no idea how fast you're going, whether you're creeping or flying so you just have to give it all you've got and hope it's enough," Thompson said.
There wasn't much time for talking as they cranked up the pace down the back half of the race, with Thompson at the helm it was a case of going for broke.
The medal was what both riders and coach described as the icing on the cake, given this was the shorter race and not their key event.
"We knew gold and silver were out of our league; they've been out of our league for a couple of years really, and we're not kilo riders but we knew the bronze medal was a possibility. There were three tandems out there that could have taken it, so it pretty much came down to those last milliseconds," Gray explained.
The pair are now looking to move further up the dais on Sunday, where they will compete in their favoured event, the 3000m pursuit.
"There's going to be four teams that are in contention for that, so we're going to have to pull something pretty amazing out of the bag to be up there for the gold medal round," Gray said.
- © Fairfax NZ News