Tandem sprint could be swapped for separate men's and women's road medal events...

A Paralympic cycling star has spoken of his disappointment that the UCI is contemplating dropping one of his events from the Paralympic cycling programme.

At London 2012, Neil Fachie and tandem pilot Barney Storey set a world record to take gold for Great Britain in the B 1km Time Trial. Their time of 1:01.351 was the fastest time ever riden on a tandem - Paralympic or non-disabled.

Fachie, who also won a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the kilo event, said that the tandem sprint is now at risk as the UCI is considering dropping it  for another road race.

It would however still leave two men’s tandem track events, the kilo and the 4km pursuit, and the women’s kilo and 3km pursuit.

"To lose one of my two events would be extremely disappointing," Fachie, 29. who has a congenital eye condition, told BBC Sport.

"It is exciting and one of the real spectator-friendly events and it would be a shame to lose something that has captured the public's attention."

The UCI is instead contemplating introducing mens and women’s separate tricycle road races, creating four road race medal events at Rio in 2016 and reducing the track events.

Fachie admits that he could adjust his training regime to take advantage of the two remaining track events, although it wouldn’t come without its own difficulties.

"I'm more of a sprinter and although I have ridden the pursuit a few times, it doesn't play to my strengths," he said.

"To double up in the kilo and the pursuit and win both would be very tough. They are two very different events - it is like getting a 200m runner to double up in the 1500m.

"It is also tough to change your long-term focus with less than three years to go until Rio.

"At the moment, I am still training for the sprint event, especially as it will be part of the programme for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but I know I'm not the only Paralympic or Olympic athlete who has ever faced losing an event.

"However, we've been so dominant in the event at World Championships and Paralympics, it would be a sore one to take. There are other nations who are against the change too.

"In addition, there is the danger that if there aren't as many medal chances people may head elsewhere and the sport may not develop as it might have done."

Besides his Paralympic success, Fachie, born in Aberdeen, is a double world champion in both the kilo and sprint, winning both titles in 2009 piloted by Storey, and in 2011 when Craig MacLean took on those duties.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.


dave2041 [22 posts] 3 years ago

#corrections "who has a congenital eye condition called , told BBC Sport."

Simon_MacMichael [2477 posts] 3 years ago

Thanks, corrected