Date: Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland

Laura Thompson and Phillipa Gray riding for SouthlandSouthland Paralympic team-mates Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson look primed to deliver on their potential in London, says New Zealand coach Brendon Cameron.

The tandem riders are ranked third in the world in their favoured 3000m pursuit discipline, but have been returning times faster than the ones they did to achieve that ranking in February.

"The competition for the two medal ride-offs will be tight, with only two seconds most probably separating the top four bikes," Cameron told the Southland Times.

Gray, who suffers from usher's syndrome, a condition which affects her sight and hearing, has only been cycling for three years after switching from rowing.

The 23-year-old moved to Invercargill at the start of last year and has made huge strides since linking with pilot rider and former netballer Thompson.

As well as the pursuit, the pair will compete in the kilo time trial on the track, and the road and time trial on the road.

The track programme will be held on the Olympic velodrome from August 29 to September 2, while the road competition will be held at Brands Hatch from September 5 to 8.

The New Zealand cycling team has been training at Montichiari in Italy for the two weeks leading up to the Paralympics.

Meanwhile, Invercargill pilot rider Kylie Young is still digesting the disappointment of missing out on the Paralympics after team-mate Jayne Parsons did not recover from a herniated disc in her lower back.

Parsons has left London to return home and contemplate her cycling career, while Young has remained with the team.

"It's pretty disappointing, obviously we've worked pretty hard over the last few months to come here and race and it's disappointing not to get out on the track," Young said from London.

"It's a bit different, when I'm feeling really good, to have Jayne pull out with her injury but that's sport and unfortunately it's not like netball where you can bring in a new replacement if someone goes down.

"That's sport and you've got to take the good with the bad."

While missing out on the chance to compete was a blow, Young said she was looking forward to helping out the cycling squad in London.

"It's a really good, close team and I've really enjoyed my time with the Paralympic team," she said.

"There's a great support network, everyone is really close and it's great to try and help them out as much as I can."

The buildup to the Paralympics had provided Young with plenty of new experiences, she said.

"Until I came away to Italy, I hadn't actually ridden on any velodrome other than the Invercargill one, so spending time in Italy with the good weather and training on the track there was pretty cool," Young said.

"It's a really good experience and I'm taking the time to work on some technique things with my riding and learn as much as I can while I'm here from the coaches."

Article courtesy of The Southland Times

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