Para-cyclist Simon Price edged out in sprint for world championship medal

Simon Price in time trial action for Great Britain Picture: Eamonn Deane EMN-150714-163546002
Simon Price in time trial action for Great Britain Picture: Eamonn Deane EMN-150714-163546002
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International para-cyclist Simon Price came within a few bike lengths of a world championship medal after an exciting road race in Switzerland on Saturday.

The Thorpe Satchville rider had to settle for fifth place in a high calibre C2 road race after a bunch sprint for the bronze medal position.

It followed up an encouraging seventh-placed finish for the Leicestershire rider in last Thursday’s time trial.

While frustrated not to return home with a medal in his suitcase, Price had no regrets in either discipline.

He said: “I arrived there in great shape and in the time trial I delivered my best ride of the year according to my data.

“I beat a few of the guys who had been up there at World Cup events on a course which doesn’t really suit me.

“I’m disappointed not to get a medal in the road race, but the reality was the two at the front were quicker than me and I came up slightly short on the sprint, but that’s bike racing.

“It was the best field of the year and the biggest race of the year so to perform like I did I have to be pleased.”

In both disciplines riders faced a longer 13-mile course than normal for the para-cycling circuit, including a steadily rising 1.5km climb on each lap.

Price stopped the clock in 33min 07secs to claim seventh place in the time trial opener.

Price added: “It was a really good, controlled performance. I got negative splits on each lap, which meant I got quicker throughout the ride.

“On that course you had to be able to produce right to the end of each lap.”

The road race was a typical cat-and-mouse affair with frontrunners Israel Hilario Rimas, from Peru, and Maurice Eckhard Tio (Spain) eventually breaking clear, leaving Price to negotiate a big chasing group in rain-sodden conditions.

Moving into the final third of the race, Price believed the game was up as the relentless pace took a heavy toll.

He added: “It was very fast up there. If someone had told me at halfway that I would finish fifth I would’ve been surprised because I was really struggling.

“But the last two laps I felt better and thought I had a good chance of figuring in the sprint.”

With Rimas and Tio taking gold and silver respectively, 10 riders were left to fight it out for the bronze.

Price battled back well, but was pipped by Czech rider Ivo Koblasa and last year’s world champion Alvaro Becerra, from Colombia, who finished fourth.

“When I hit the top of the climb for the last time I knew I had ground to make up,” he said. “But I worked really hard to get to the front of the group.

“With 120 metres to go I knew Ivo was probably going to win the sprint for third, but I was pleased I committed myself so well.

“Unfortunately there was no medal, but it’s a world championship and they aren’t easy to come by.”

Price will hope to challenge the leading pair at the Rio Paralympics in just over a year if selected.

Next month he travels to South Africa for his third World Cup appearance of the year to try and earn Team GB more precious qualifying points for Rio.

He added: “This year I have had three fifth places in world events, and two of them I created a good chance to get on the podium.

“Looking ahead to Rio, I am more hopeful of making the squad than I was or London in 2012; I’m in the mix.”