Paralympic cyclists get medal set with silver

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:26 06/09/2012
Phillipa Gray, Laura Thompson
Getty Images
GOLD, SILVER, BRONZE: Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson complete the medal set with silver in the individual B time trial.

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Invercargill cyclist Phillipa Gray and her pilot Laura Thompson have completed the set of Paralympic medals in less than a week.

The tandem cyclists transferred their great form from the track to the road circuit at Brands Hatch as they claimed the silver medal in the individual B time trial at the London Games this morning (NZT).

It completes the set with the duo having won gold in the B women's pursuit and bronze in the B women's 1km time trial at the velodrome.

Gray, 23, who is visually impaired, and Thompson completed the 24km course at the well known motor racing venue in 35 minutes and 07.68 seconds, finishing 5s behind the gold medal winners from the Netherlands, Kathrin Goeken and her pilot, Kim van Dijk.

The time trial has been the main focus for the Dutch, who did not compete in any events on the track. Compare that to the Kiwis, with Gray saying they had been so focused on the track they had only done eight road rides together before the Games.

"It was nasty, this hasn't been an event we've trained for, and it's a bit of a bonus," Gray said.

The medal takes New Zealand's tally to 13, beating their 12-medal haul from Beijing four years ago, with three days of competition remaining.

Also at Brands Hatch, Taranaki's Nathan Smith found the going a "little lumpy" on the undulating circuit during his C3 individual time trial, finishing 11th out of 14 riders.

The leg amputee and brother of All Black Conrad Smith struggled to maintain his momentum up the steeper parts of the course and lost time without the ability to rise out of his saddle and push the required power into his pedals.

The father-of-two's final chance to win a Paralympic medal comes in the men's time trial tomorrow. He has already confirmed this will be his first and last Games tilt.

"I'm definitely not going to Rio, I owe my boss a fair few hours and have quite a bit of time to make up with the kids and Crystal, my wife."

Northland's Fiona Southorn, a medallist on the track, wasn't rewarded for a gutsy ride, finishing fifth in the 16km C5 women's time trial, in 26mins.

Southorn will also compete in the road race tomorrow, but admitted her focus had been on the velodrome and the time trial. "I'd be lost, I think, if you find me up on the dais."

Sue Reid made her first appearance at the Games in the H3 time trial, finishing nearly 2mins off the podium in fourth. The hand cyclist from Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains couldn't quite get the power in the uphill she had hoped for.

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Chris Ross finished 12th in his C5 time trial in 36:17.18.

New Zealand's sailors continued to struggle in Weymouth; Paul Francis was 14th and 10th in the two 2.4mR single keelboat races while Jan Apel and Tim Dempsey were ninth and a 10th in the SKUD18 two-person keelboat. Both crews are well off the pace.

There were no Kiwis in action at the pool today; they ramp up again tomorrow and will be hoping to add to their eight medals.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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