— UCI Para-Cycling (@UCI_paracycling) October 1, 2016
In September, it was announced that Colin Lynch, the 45-year-old C2 para cyclist from Ireland, would be the first of his classification to take a shot at the UCI’s hour record, after the global cycling body extended its regulations to include para cycling. The endurance specialist aimed to put 41.31 km under his rubber in 60 minutes, facing the challenge at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, Great Britain.
On October 1, Lynch not only met the challenge, he shattered it, when the former time trial champion successfully finished 43.133 km in an hour.
The Irish rider—who grew up in Canada, where he broke his leg playing rugby at the age of 16—had already beaten the C2 record with two minutes remaining in his ride. The record attempt looked well on track as he covered 21.7 km during the first 30 minutes of the challenge. By the last 15 minutes, a threshold considered the hardest part of the hour record attempt, his completed distance was up to 33 km. That the powerhouse Irishman would raise the hour record’s bar was already apparent after 38 laps with the UCI already saying via social media that he was far ahead of schedule.
It’s yet another achievement for the accomplished athlete whose history in the saddle includes five medal-winning performances at the UCI para cycling world championships, two world titles and a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. After an attempt at the UCI hour record last year in Manchester, it’s also a vindication, after missing his opportunity due to a puncture in his first attempt.
“Since I began in para cycling in 2008,” Lynch told officials with the International Paralympic Committee, “the UCI hour record is something that I’ve had my eye on. And after the disappointment of crashing out last year whilst making an attempt, it has been on the forefront of my mind to come back and try again.”
Having now broke the record, UCI president Brian Cookson noted that Lynch has established a highlight in the history of para cycling.