Solid start for para-cyclists

The NZ Para-cycling team has made a solid start to a busy race schedule in Canada this month.

The team competed in the 2013 UCI Para-cyling Road World Cup, a warm-up event for the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships next week.

Paralympic stars and tandem partners Phillipa Gray and Laura Fairweather (sighted pilot) finished second to take the silver medal and back up their Paralympic silver in the 24.9km women's B time trial.

It was a closely fought race with the gold medallists Lora Turnham  and Corrine Hall (Great Britian) taking the race by less than a minute.

However, they did not complete the second race of the event (women's B road race) because of a puncture.

New Zealand's newest tandem combination of Emma Foy and Gabby Vermunt (sighted pilot) placed fourth in the Women's B time trial, less than 10sec behind the experienced combination of Gray and Fairweather.

On the final day of competition they rode to silver in the Women's B Road Race exceeding all expectations.

Foy and Vermunt were only 3sec behind gold medallists Josefa Benitez Guzman and Judit Masdeu Cort from Spain.

Head performance coach Brendon Cameron was pleased with the results.

''Initially this was just going to be a great learning opportunity for the new pairing of Emma and Gabrielle to get some experience on the road prior to the World Championships, but to come away with a fourth and second is outstanding in their first two starts on the International scene. We
are very excited about our new team members and what lies ahead.''

Paralympian Fiona Southorn placed fifth in the women's C5 time trial, maintaining her placing in this event from the London Paralympics.

Of the nine-strong team, four development hand cyclists competed in the road time trial and road race events, with placings in the top 15.The team will now compete at the 2013 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Canada from August 29 to September 1.

The Southland Times