The long and short of it: Ricardo Ten Argilés wins 200m and 15km golds!

More super-human performances and compelling stories roll on at pace at the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships on Day 3 of the Championships at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Canada. The first two races of the day saw victories for two Spanish men. First up, Ricardo Ten Argilés in the C1 Scratch Race followed immediately by Maurice Far Eckhard Tio in the C2 Scratch Race.

In the last ride on Friday – Day 2 at Milton – Ricardo Ten Argilés of Spain set a new world record in the Men’s C1 200m time trial, the shortest distance race of the championships, to win another world title. And the first final on Saturday, the same rider took on one of the longest events are the championships – the Men C1 15km Scratch Race; 60 laps of the banked Milton track – and carried on just where he’d left off, winning Scratch gold, and concluding victory in the C1 Omnium, adding another rainbow jersey to the growing collection.

But Ricardo Ten Argilés is no ordinary person. As a child he was involved in an accident with a high-voltage power line, resulting in the loss of both arms and his left leg below the knee. Forging his athletic career has shown formidable focus and determination.

After a highly successful career as an S5 classification swimmer he moved to cycling at the end of the 2017 season where he quickly established himself as the man to beat in the C1 category.

In the pool he had medalled at four separate Paralympic Games: 1996 Atlanta; double gold at Sydney 2000; Beijing 2008 and London 2012; and has no fewer than 12 World Championships swimming medals earned over a 17-year career, along with seven at European Championship (four of them gold). The majority are breaststroke, but the Valencian-born athlete showed his versatility by also winning medals in butterfly, backstroke and freestyle. And that versatility is coming to the fore in this year’s UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships…

After the 2018 Worlds’ gold in C1 individual pursuit and bronze in the C1 1km time trial, Ten Argiles took the exact same medals in 2019, along with gold in the C1 Scratch Race, and after a successful World Cup season he finished the year ranked no 1 overall.

The 2020 Worlds have brought the Spaniard another 1km time trial bronze, individual pursuit silver and gold in the flying start 200m time trial, Scratch Race and the Omnium with 158 points, ten ahead of China’s Weicong Liang. But the story might not be over, as on Sunday he’s due to line up as part of the Spanish trio in the Mixed Team Sprint.

Full power on the tandems

In the Women Tandem B time trial (1km race for visually impaired athletes), Lora Fachie and pilot Corrine Hall suffered a mechanical issue at their start where a pedal clip broke and they had to get quick fix from mechanic, with an old-fashioned toe-strap holding Fachie’s left foot onto the pedal. But it was the other British interest, Sophie Thornhill and pilot Helen Scott, who took gold, just missing their own world record time. Larissa Klaassen (Netherlands) took silver and Emma Foy (New Zealand) the bronze.

With the massive torque from two powerful riders going through the drivetrains of highly-tuned machines, mechanical issues similarly affected the New Zealand, Japanese and Greek riders at the start of their heats in the Men’s tandem time trial final. Ultimately it was Lora Fachie’s husband Neil Fachie (and pilot Matthew Rotherham) took gold in a British 1-2, with former Tandem B sprint and kilo champion James Ball (and pilot Lewis Stewart) in silver medal position.

Compatriot head-to-heads

In the women’s individual pursuit we witnessed riders from the same country going head-to-head in consecutive gold finals. In the C4 category Emily Petricola retained her world title by beating her countrywoman Meg Lemon who stepped up from the bronze medal position she held in the previous two years to secure silver.

Then in the C5 category two experienced British women took to the track. It was Sarah Storey – having qualified fastest – who overhauled Crystal Lane-Wright at half distance, and in doing so claimed her 33rd world title. Storey ended the day by taking another victory in the C5 Scratch Race, from Lane-Wright in second, lapping the rest of the field, also concluding the Omnium win to total 35 titles.

Check the full results from Day 3 of the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships here: final day of racing at the Championships in Milton is on Sunday with Scratch Races and tandem sprints to conclude.