Australia's A With a Disability team enjoyed a successful opening to the IPC World Championships in Bordeaux, France, claiming eight medals and two world records during the opening two days. Victorian Michael Gallagher demolished his opponent in the final of the LC1 men's 4km individual pursuit to claim gold after smashing his own world record in Sunday's qualifying round.
The 28 year-old rode a time of 4.37.706s, almost three seconds faster than the previous mark of 4.40.378s he set at the Australian Championships in February, to go into the gold medal ride as the top qualifier. "That was the schedule we were riding to and in training I was on an even faster schedule but the weather was a bit better than it was yesterday," said Gallagher. "I probably went out a bit fast but I ended up with the same time overall."
In the final, a rerun of the 2006 race, he caught Austrian rival Wolfgang Eibeck after just six laps of the 16 lap event. "I think he was trying to ride to my schedule and it didn't really suit him because he was on the other side of the track for four or five laps and then suddenly he was in the same straight," said Gallagher. "The good thing about it for me is that I can tell the training's paying off because my times keep coming down.
"It's probably only one more step now for me to confirm my spot for the Paralympic Games in Beijing," explained Gallagher who aims to better the mark at the Australian Championships in February next year. "This is good but a world record at Nationals would put it (selection) beyond doubt and pretty much guarantee my spot."
Gallagher tomorrow will try to defend his kilometre time trial crown but is expecting a tough event. "There are a few guys who are specialising in the 'kilo' and they could break my World Record but I won't be handing over my (world champion) jersey without a fight," he said.
New South Wales teenager Jayme Paris finished fifth in the LC3-4/CP3 500m time trial but set a CP3 women's World Record with her time of 46.918s. The 18 year-old knocked three seconds off the previous mark of 49.916 set by American Barbara Buchanan at the 2006 World Championships in Switzerland.