Storey enters record books with 11th Paralympic gold

Sarah Storey became Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian by winning her fourth gold of the London 2012 Games with a dominant display in the C4-5 Road Race at Brands Hatch.

It was an 11th career gold for the former swimmer, who switched to cycling in 2005. With eight silver medals and three bronze in a 20-year career she surpasses former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s collection of 11 golds, four silvers and one bronze.

In all at these Games, Mancunian Storey, 34, has won gold medals on the track in the C4-5 500m Time Trial and C5 Pursuit, as well as on on the famous motor racing circuit in Wednesday’s Time Trial, and in today’s Road Race.

“To be even on the same page as Tanni, to have won 11 and make it a clean sweep for this week, is just a dream come true. I don’t know if it’ll ever sink in,” she said.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, who is commentating for radio on the Games, congratulated Storey via Twitter shortly after the cyclist crossed the line.

Swimmer Mike Kenny won 16 golds and two silvers between 1976 and 1988 but records in the earlier years still remain sketchy so it is difficult to be definitive about who is the greatest of all time.

Storey attacked from the start of the 64km, eight-lap race and finished seven minutes and 22 seconds clear of her nearest rival, Poland’s Anna Harkowska, covering the course at an average of 38kph.

She said: “I just thought I’d test a few legs on the first time up Scratchers Lane. I had gas to spare and got away.

“I’ve been practicing all year but I can’t believe I pulled it out today. I’m so chuffed.

“It’s just amazing with the crowds around the course and on the finish straight every single lap. I wanted to say thank you but I had to keep my head down and make sure I made no mistakes.”

Storey caught the competitors in the men’s C1-3 event, who started their race two minutes before the women, and the men’s event had to be neutralised by officials when they tried to race alongside her.

“I’d completely forgotten about the men until I could see the back of their peloton. I just managed to hold them off but I was dying,” said Storey.

Chelmsford rider Crystal Lane, who took up Paralympic cycling after watching Storey compete in Beijing, finished sixth in the race, 14 minutes 14 seconds behind her teammate.

Londoner Shaun McKeown finished 21st in the men’s C1-3 race, over a minute behind winner Roberto Bargna of Italy, with Wednesday’s Time Trial silver medallist Mark Colbourne – who also won gold and silver on the track at his first Games – even further back.

Earlier, Jon-Allan Butterworth ended his first Paralympic Games with three silver medals from five events, having abandoned the Road Race after four of the 10 laps because he was struggling to keep up with the pack.

Butterworth, a former RAF serviceman who lost his arm in a rocket attack in Iraq, was involved in a training accident on Tuesday and raced with a heavily bandaged right arm and cuts on his leg.

For more news and pictures from London 2012 go to the ParalympicsGB website: www.paralympics.org.uk/gb.

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