As on the previous day, Sarah Storey finished with a gold medal around her neck. The 36-year-old British girl – one of the outstanding riders in these Championships – triumphed in the scratch ahead of the Argentinian rider Mariela Analia Delgado. Storey thus came away, after four days of competition, with two wins (the 3km Pursuit and Scratch) and a bronze medal (in the 500m). The anthem of God Save the Queen set the tempo for this final day, with the successes in the tandems of Sophie Thornhill and Rachel James in the Women, and Neil Fachie and Peter Mitchell in the Men. Following on from the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Team GB and its 11 representatives logically finished these Championships in 2nd place in the country rankings, with 10 medals, of which 7 were gold.
It was Australia, featuring Susan Powell, that came top, with 17 medals including 5 wins. China – featuring Zhou Jufang – took third place with 10 medals, including 4 rainbow jerseys, with the USA team of Allison Jones finishing just short of the podium (9 and 2).
23 new world records
Mexico, the host country, didn’t succeed in winning a medal, but the representatives of the Pan-American Cycling Confederation nevertheless performed well. In addition to the USA, Argentina (3 and 2), Canada (2) and Brazil (1) stepped on to the podium, even though they were not on the highest step, except in the case of the Brazilian Soelito Gohr in the Men Scratch on Sunday. Although the traditionally dominant countries all performed well at this crucial rendez-vous – at the halfway point between London and Rio 2016 – it is noteworthy that 18 countries shared the 83 medals, with 11 of them sharing 29 victories.
The outstanding performances delighted the crowds, who had come in droves to the Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome, reputed to be ultra-fast. No less than 23 world records were broken during these four days.
The President of the UCI Para-cycling Commission, also member of the UCI Management Committee, Mohamed Belmahi, remarked: “These World Championships have been a success both in terms of performances of the athletes. All the favourites were present, and the emerging countries achieved excellent results. The Mexican audiences were able to appreciate the increasingly demanding level of para-cycling, which is more and more popular across the world.”
Photo: Inspiring pair Matt Formston / Michael Curran bringing Australia on top of the nations rankings with 17 medals in Aguascalientes Worlds