Para-cyclist Simon Price targets world championship redemption

Simon Price won his first world championship medal in 2011, a year after turning to para-cycling EMN-180602-130423002
Simon Price won his first world championship medal in 2011, a year after turning to para-cycling EMN-180602-130423002
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International para-cyclist Simon Price is gunning for a big 12 months as he bids to lay the foundation stones for a run to the Tokyo Paralympics.

The Thorpe Satchville rider enjoyed his best World Cup last July when he won the road race and secured a brilliant time trial bronze in the Dutch town of Emmen.

The results cemented his place in the British team for the World Para-cycling Championships in South Africa.

But hopes of adding to his 2011 world championship bronze medal were wrecked by two bouts of tonsilitis in the build-up to the games.

Despite coming down with the second bout with the championships fast approaching, Price decided to travel, but lacked the fitness to pull out a par performance.

“The second time came a couple of days before we flew out there. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have gone,” he said.

“Maybe I rushed back into training from the first bout; I was training hard, but didn’t feel I was going very well at all.

“I tried to convince myself that I could get through it, but when you get tonsilitis a little over a week before the championships you aren’t going to perform.”

Having picked up his first road race win in several years in the Netherlands, Price was then reminded how fickle fate can be on the road.

“Ninth in the time trial was all I could do, and in the road race I had a mechanical and was then held up behind a crash,” he said.

“Then as I was trying to get back to the bunch I punctured.”

The Leicestershire rider is always keen to scrutinise his performances, and can be his own harshest critic.

But with illness clearly to blame this time, Price was not burdened by any blame as he looked to build again.

“In some ways it’s easier to accept because I knew what had happened; I knew the training had been compromised,” he explained.

“If I had been going really well and then didn’t perform, that would be a concern, but it wasn’t something I’ve overly dwelt on.

“When we got back we decided to finish the season there and then build up to next year.

“I had a good October, November and December, getting base miles and endurance under my belt which should keep more consistent this season.”

He added: “Sometimes you just have to take the highs and lows.

“At times last year was disappointing, but in Holland I had my best-ever combined results at a World Cup.”

Price retained his place on the British Cycling programme for another year and has two big targets in mind for 2018 when team qualification opens for the 2020 Paralympics.

He aims to start racing domestically at the end of March, building up to the first World Cup event of the year in Ostend.

He has find memories of the Belgian city, having won his first World Cup time trial medal there in 2016.

And there he intends to stake his place for this year’s World Championships, in Maniago, Spain.

“The focus is always to be competitive at a world level,” Price explained.

“If you plan to go all the way to Tokyo you have to be getting the results all the way along the cycle.

“The more points we get in the qualification events, the more places we will qualify for the Paralympics.”

Having unexpectedly missed out on selection for Rio in 2016, the fire still burns fiercely in Price to make his Paralympic debut in Tokyo in two years’ time.

And the 48-year-old believes age should prove no barrier.

“I’m getting older each year, but personally as long as I’m competitive I still want to aim for it,” he said.

“There wouldn’t be any enjoyment if I felt the field was going away from me. But last year proved I was still right up there.”