Sarah Storey wins 17th gold to become Britain's most successful Paralympian

Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan on BBC Dates: 24 Aug-5 Sep Time in Tokyo: BST+8 Coverage: Follow Radio 5 Live or on the BBC Sport Website
Sarah Storey won her 17th Paralympic Gold to become Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian.

The 43-year old defends the women's C4-5 road race title that she has held since London 2012. This puts her one gold ahead Mike Kenny, who was previously the record holder.

Britain's Crystal Lane Wright finished seven seconds behind in order to win silver.

It was a GB One-two in the men’s C1-3 race, Ben Watson winning his second Gold with Fin Graham claiming Silver in Tokyo's atrocious conditions.

Storey stated that she felt overwhelmed and it was happening to her.

"I cannot really explain or calculate anything about the race but crossing the first line felt so good.

Storey's third Paralympics gold medal was her eighth Games, since she made her debut in Barcelona as a 14 year-old swimmer in 1992.

After winning the individual pursuit, she claimed time-trial gold to match Kenny's record.

Storey has now won 28 Paralympic medals and hasn't won anything but gold since her Paralympic cycling debut at Beijing 2008.

Lee Pearson and Sarah Storey each added three gold medals in Tokyo to their respective totals

Storey powers to title for familiar conditions

Storey, Lane-Wright, and Lane-Wright were in front of the pack during weather similar to Manchester's. There was heavy fog and rain making it difficult for visibility at the beginning.

Kerstin Brachtendorf, a Briton, was able to break away towards the end the second of six laps. The 49-year old held a 25-second advantage at the checkpoint.

Storey led the chase group, Lane-Wright was always on her wheel, and she extended this advantage to more that a minute at halftime.

Brachtendorf was unable to keep up with the rain, and the gap widened by 10 seconds after four laps.

Lane-Wright was able to get in front of the chasers quickly with a strong pace. Brachtendorf was soon caught up by the pack, leaving five riders in contention of the medals.

At this point, the British duo discovered another gear. Lane-Wright & Storey broke away to establish a comfortable lead heading into the Fuji International Speedway circuit's finish.

Storey celebrated by kicking the air as she crossed the finish line in two hours 21 minutes and 51 seconds.

France's Marie Patouillet won bronze almost two minutes after Storey, with Brachtendorf, an early pacesetter, fifth.

"I don’t know if it’s sink in. It's something that everyone has been talking about ever since Rio, when it became mathematically possible with me doing three more events at Tokyo," Storey said to BBC Radio 5 Live's Paralympic Breakfast.

"But you cannot take anything for granted, and although I knew that I could close the gap to Kerstin's, when your legs feel less than they did in the time trial, and then the individual pursuit, you might think that today is not my day.

"It's one those situations when I don't know if it will sink in when it gets home, or if it will take a few months or never.

"I feel incredibly proud and grateful to have had so much support, to have such an amazing team around me, and also to have a great back-up team. They made it possible by placing me in a position to do so. I am a bit confused in many ways.

"There are times when my mind wanders to Sarah's possible actions."

Lane-Wright's second Tokyo silver was her third, after finishing second to Storey in all three races.

The 35-year old, who has five Paralympic golds total, suggested that this would be her last Games. She was also aware of the historical nature of the race.

"I told you that this is your gold medal." Lane-Wright stated that you don't need to be worried, and I won't even attempt to take it from you.

"This is history now. She went so hard, I didn't have enough legs. It's easy to say that I gave it to her now, but she won the race.

It's not just gold medals that make it special. You also need to consider her as a professional. Even if she had won silver, she is still one the greatest athletes that we will ever see.

"I have piggy-backed that because I am in the same category as you and on the same podium. Sometimes I wonder, "What would Sarah do?" She inspires and motivates me so much.

Watson wins the second title in his debut Games

Watson won the men's race to claim his second Paralympic title at Tokyo. He did this just seconds after Storey, Lane-Wright and Storey had crossed the line in Tokyo's women's competition.

Watson worked as a chartered surveyor at a desk five years ago during the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Fast forward to 2021, and Watson is a two-time Paralympic champion. He won the C3 time trial just two days before.

The 32-year old was at the front of the race from the beginning and was joined by Graham and three-time Tokyo Jaco van Gass medallists at the halfway stage.

Watson's move on the fourth lap was decisive. He quickly established a lead of over a minute on all the field and would not relinquish it.

Graham, silver medallist in the 3,000m individual pursuit at the Games, broke away from the pack on the fifth lap to confirm the British one two. He crossed the finish line just 20 seconds ahead of Watson.

France's Alexandre Leaute won bronze in a sprint to the finish. Watson was unable to win, and Van Gass finished fifth.

Watson stated to Channel 4 that "that was mental."

"I hate the rain, but I love to race in this, it is my passion.

"When I woke up this morn, I was smiling. It was going to be good."

Storey's career as a photographer

Sarah Bailey, as she was then, is pictured with the Great Britain team at the 1996 Paralympics, Atlanta. She won three gold medals for swimming when she was 18 years old.

After breaking her 200m backstroke record of more than six seconds, she stares at the time. This was just six seconds after her 16th birthday.

Sarah Storey won two bronzes and two silvers in swimming at Athens 2004 Paralympics

Beijing 2008 was Sarah Storey’s first Paralympics in cycling - she won two Golds

Sarah Storey won the London 2012 Paralympic Road Race title

Sarah Storey won four gold medals in London 2012 Games

Rio 2016 was Sarah Storey’s first Paralympics as mother. Barney, her husband, welcomed Louisa to their family in 2013, while Charlie was born in 2017.