Hicks leads Para road cycling medal haul
An emotional Darren Hicks says he feels relief more than joy at breaking through for a Paralympic cycling gold medal in the men’s C2 time trial.
The South Australian won silver last week in the individual pursuit but desperately wanted gold in his favoured event at the Fuji International Speedway.
“I think I will be excited later on but for now it’s just relief,” Hicks told the Seven Network.
“I’ve worked so hard for this and have wanted it for so long, I’m just so happy.”
The 36-year-old lost his leg above the knee in a crash seven years ago after brakes failed on his truck, killing two people who were parked at traffic lights.
Hicks was initially charged over the collision, which put his hopes of riding for Australia on hold, but was cleared in 2018 after Jann Spiess, whose husband died in the crash, publicly backed him.
Hick stopped the clock in the 24km time trial at 34 minutes 39.78 seconds, more than 90 seconds faster than Belgian silver medallist Ewoud Vromant with Frenchman Alexandre Leaute securing the bronze.
He described his race day as ideal.
“The warm-up was perfect, I’ve never had my heart rate so low and my leg felt perfect,” Hicks said.
“I just went out and executed the plan, just let it all loose on the third (lap) and it worked out brilliant.”
Fellow Australian riders Paige Greco and Emily Petricola also tasted double medal success.
Queenslander Greco collected bronze in the women’s C1-3 time trial behind hometown favourite Keiko Sugiura after winning an individual pursuit gold medal.
In the C4 division, Petricola won silver while and Meg Lemon bagged bronze behind defending champion American Shawn Morelli.
Petricola, aged 41 and making her Paralympics debut, was just 9.3 seconds off Morelli’s winning time.
Also an individual pursuit gold medallist, Petricola said she was a little down about missing another gold.
“Part of me is a little bit disappointed,” she said.
“But I couldn’t have done more than I did today – I was a bit unlucky with some of the traffic out there but that’s part racing on the road.”