International para-cyclist Simon Price reminded his rivals that age has not diminished his hunger or ability by striking World Cup gold last weekend.
The 48-year-old, who rides without the use of his left leg, timed his break to perfection to add road race gold to the time trial bronze medal won two days earlier in the Dutch town of Emmen.
It was the first time the C2 category rider had climbed the podium in both disciplines at a World Cup meet, and dropped a big hint to selectors picking the team for next month’s UCI World Para-cycling Road Championships.
“I feel I’ve been in the right shape all year and if I had any chance of going to the worlds I needed to get a result here,” he said.
“It is always pleasing when you can get results under a little pressure because it shows you have the temperament to handle it.”
The gold medal marked the end of a four-year drought for a World Cup road race podium, a frustrating wait for a rider brought up on the cut and thrust of racing as an able-bodied rider.
“My focus in training has been very much on the time trial for the last few years and not getting on the podium for the road race was becoming frustrating,” he added.
“I still felt I was competitive, but with all the variables that can happen in racing, things just hadn’t gone my way.”
The win was also a perfect riposte to the disappointment of his previous World Cup outing in Italy six weeks earlier.
There he could only manage seventh in the time trial and was then brought down by a crash in the road race.
But having ridden through the discomfort of a cracked rib from the crash, illness then kept the Thorpe Satchville rider off his bike for nine days of a crucial period of training.
“I only got back riding eight days before the trip and there was a discussion over whether I could go,” he explained.
“But I had managed to get in a fortnight’s block of training before the illness and then had eight days before coming out here so I didn’t feel I had lost that much.”
On a course set-up seen as a true time trial test, Price stopped the clock in 24min 30.12secs, just two seconds behind Russian world champion Arslan Gilmutdinov despite losing around seven seconds to a misjudgment.
The time was 28 seconds down on Irish rider Colin Lynch who made it three wins from three World Cup time trials this year.
He added: “It was a bit of an amateur mistake, but it was just nice to get back on the podium again to build the confidence and show that I’m still in the mix after my two podiums last year.
“C2 is probably the most competitive class and you can’t take podiums for granted.”
Lining up on much of the same course for the road race two days later, but this time in wet conditions, Price picked out the place to make his move.
And with the bunch all together on the final lap, he duly sprang away up the slip road, using its 200m ramp to make the decisive break.
“I had a plan to go from 550 metres out which is normally a long way out,” he said. “But I took the race on and made sure I was first up the slip road.
“I still had 350m to go from there, but it was very fast; it was then just the small matter of staying upright on the last two bends.”
Price had pulled out enough breathing space to salute his victory at the line, one second ahead of Swiss runner-up Roger Bolliger and bronze medallist Nikolaos Papangelis, from Greece.
“It was a relief when I crossed the line; there have been so many frustrations,” Price added.
“I was pleased that I stuck to a plan and trusted my instincts and went for it.
“There were many races where I thought I could have had the same results so to actually get across the line in front has given me a bit more fire for the road race.”