Australia has tasted double T2 time trial delight on Day 1 of the 2022 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Canada, winning silver and bronze.
Carol Cooke’s silver medal performance in the women’s T2 time trial took her to 15 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championship medals since 2011, while Stuart Jones got the green and gold wheel turning in the men’s T2 time trial to race home as Australia’s first medal winner of the week.
61-year-old Cooke finished the 18.9-kilometre Baie-Comeau course in 40 minutes and 26 seconds, one minute in arrears of German rival Angelika Dreock-Käser.
It is a result Cooke said “felt amazing” after not finishing on the podium at last week’s 2022 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Quebec City.
2 medals on Day 1 at the @UCI_paracycling Road World Championships for @AusCyclingTeam 🤩— AUS Paralympic Team (@AUSParalympics) August 12, 2022
Silver for @CazCooke in the Women's T2 Time Trial (18.9km) and bronze for Stu Jones in the Men's.
What a start for AUS at #BaieComeau2022!
📸: Casey Gibson@AusCyclingAus pic.twitter.com/6PiNtWt98U
“I decided that today I was just going to concentrate on the process,” Cooke said.
“After last week's World Cup and not being on the podium, I was starting to wonder if my time of international racing was over, but not concentrating on the outcome helped today.
“Just worrying about what I was doing and my own race, to do the best I could was what was in my head.
“To come away with a silver medal was certainly the icing on the cake – so absolutely stoked!”
Cooke said her mental approach to the time trial resulted in “technically” the best race she has ever had.
It's TT 🥈 for @CazCooke at #BaieComeau2022! 🇦🇺— AusCyclingTeam (@AusCyclingTeam) August 12, 2022
Cooke has now won a staggering 15 women's T2 @UCI_paracycling Road World Championships medals in her career, and she'll hope to make it 16 in the road race on Saturday.@AusCyclingAus · #AusCyclingTeam pic.twitter.com/FA2vv3Ob2q
“We had 42 corners to do in 18.9km, so I knew that this is where I would gain or lose time,” Cooke said.
“I was able to nail each and every one of those corners and I believe that the only area I lost to the others was on the climb that we had to do twice.
“I’m certainly not a great climber and the other women are! I was very happy with my pace and how I rode the race.”
For 53-year-old Jones, today’s bronze medal was another huge boost of confidence after a dearth of international racing opportunities for two years.
“After not racing internationally for so long there was a whole gambit of emotions, ranging from nervousness to excitement, but once I was at the start line everything disappeared, and it became the pure business of trying to be as fast as I could be and executing the ride as best as I could,” Jones said.
Stuart Jones wins our first medal of the week at #BaieComeau2022 🥉!— AusCyclingTeam (@AusCyclingTeam) August 12, 2022
Stu adds @UCI_paracycling Road World Championships Men's T2 Time Trial bronze to his collection to keep the 2019 silver warm.@AusCyclingAus · #AusCyclingTeam pic.twitter.com/cCylkAwPCz
“This is my third road world championships and my first in 2018 in Italy was a disaster.
“I let the occasion get to me. I worked with a sports psych after that and he taught me to break the race down into parts.
“So, that's what I did today. I focused on getting the best start I could, then focused on my first corner and getting the right line in and out.
“The whole race was broken down like that. I worked hard for third today and even if I hadn't (finished third), I rode the best race I could have, so I would have walked away happy regardless, but it is always nice to get something for the pool room.
“I owe a great deal to an Australian Cycling Team staff member, Rebecca Dicello, who was following and talking to me throughout the race. I know my result is half due to her and how she handled me throughout the race. I owe Bec a lot.”
Both Cooke and Jones have one eye already firmly planted on the T2 road races on Saturday, which will cover 37.8km.
“My goal for the road race is first and foremost to stay upright!” Cooke said.
“But seriously if I can gain some distance on the downhills and corners then maybe I can keep up with them when they take off up the climb.
“I have no fear going downhill and actually hit 68km/h today which the other women can't do, so hopefully that will even out with their climbing ability.
“Again, I am not going to focus on the outcome, just ride the race.”
An upbeat Jones said he was going all-in on Saturday.
“Every time I race, I aim for the podium and the top step,” Jones said.
“I’m giving away anywhere from 20-30 kilograms in weight difference and 20-30 years in age to most of my competitors, and this course is not one where my strengths are aligned, but regardless, I will give the road race everything I have.
“I take great pride in being lucky enough to be able to represent Australia and as such every time I race for this great country of ours, I leave nothing in the tank.
“And as they say, anything can happen in a cycling race.”
Australia’s other time trial results from Day 1 at #BaieComeau2022 included a sixth for Grant Allen in men’s H4 and ninth for Stuart Tripp in men’s H5.
Unfortunately, Alex Welsh did not finish the men’s H3 time trial due to tightness and spasms in his right foot and leg.