Colin Lynch wrote himself into the history books on Saturday, setting a first-ever UCI-sanctioned para-cycling Hour Record.
The 45-year-old Irishman, a left leg amputee, took to the boards of the Manchester velodrome in the UK to set a distance of 43.133km - the furthest ever ridden in one hour by a para-athlete.
With the UCI having recently amended their regulations, Lynch's was the first attempt by a para-cyclist to be officially recognised by the governing body, with all attempts made before 2016 to be known as ‘World Best Performances'.
As such, Lynch was always going to come away with a new and first-ever official ‘Para-cycling UCI Hour Record’, but he still broke the existing benchmark, set by Frenchman Laurent Thirionet in 1999 in the C2 category, by some 2.1km.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was near-perfect for the first 40 minutes but the last 20 minutes is where it really starts to hurt," said Lynch, who attempted the record 12 months ago, only to puncture after 42 minutes.
"With about 5 minutes to go I knew I was going to beat the record and was hanging on to make sure I set a strong new mark."
Lynch's left leg had to be amputated below the knee after he suffered a rugby injury at the age of 16, which was complicated by a spinal chord tumour. He made his international debut in para-cycling in 2010 and has twice been a world champion, once on the road in the C2 time trial in Denmark in 2011 and then on the track the following year in the 3km pursuit in Los Angeles.
After narrowly missing out on a medal at London 2012, he claimed his first Paralympic medal in Rio this summer with silver in the time trial.
“It’s been an amazing year for me and this was the perfect way to cap it off. I hope the record will stand for a while now, but also hope this will start other para-cycling riders in all categories to test the record books," he said.
“I want to thank the UCI and my Federation (Cycling Ireland) for backing me in this attempt. I am now looking forward to some time off – and then coming back next year to try and win the World Championships Time Trial one more time!”
UCI President Brian Cookson hailed the event as a milestone in para-cycling.
“Congratulations to Colin for putting in a great performance and establishing a record that will stand in history as the first ever Para-cycling UCI Hour Record," he said.
"Colin had great success at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and today’s achievement comes as icing on the cake. I’m sure he will be an inspiration for many other riders to take on this iconic record.”
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