Dame Sarah Storey wins 17th gold to become Britain’s most successful Paralympian

Cycling story comes from behind to make history in Tokyo

Dame Sarah Storey made history by becoming Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian after powering back to claim the 17th gold of her glittering career at Tokyo 2020.

Cycling star Storey trailed veteran German Kerstin Brachtendorf by 75 seconds at one stage of the C4-5 road race at the rain-soaked Fuji International Speedway but underlined her class to snatch glory in a finishing time of 2 hours 21 mins 51 secs.

Fellow Briton Crystal Lane-Wright picked up her third silver of the Games by crossing the line seven seconds off the pace, with France’s Marie Patouillet completing the podium.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed, it feels like it's happening to someone else," Storey said.

"I can't really explain or compute anything about the race, but crossing the line first felt so good."

Mother-of-two Storey had matched Mike Kenny’s long-standing British record of 16 golds on Tuesday by winning the C5 time trial at the same venue.

The 43-year-old was already more decorated than swimmer Kenny going into her third and final event of the Games owing to a greater haul of medals, which ahead of the race stood at 27 to his 18.

She was eager to stand alone at the top of Britain’s all-time individual medal table and did so in dramatic fashion thanks to preserving her flawless record in Paralympic cycling with a stunning comeback victory.

The former swimmer – whose first five golds came in the pool – has now won all 13 bike events entered dating back to her Games debut on two wheels in Beijing in 2008.

Despite that prolonged period of dominance, she warned ahead of the 78km race that victory was far from a formality.

In the foothills of Mount Fuji – Japan’s highest peak – Storey was quickly left with a mountain to climb in sodden conditions.

Long-time leader Brachtendorf made a brave break away from the peloton as early as the end of the second lap of six.

The 49-year-old – the bronze medallist from Tuesday’s time trial at the same venue – was one of only two race participants older than Storey.

She maintained a lead of more than minute for much of the race, before Britain’s best pushed hard to eventually eradicate a one-time 13 second gap at the start of the final lap.

Storey’s trip to Japan had already brought golds in the C5 3000m individual pursuit and time trial, and for the third time in the space of nine days she comfortably held off the attentions of compatriot Lane-Wright.

Updated: September 2nd 2021, 6:46 AM
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