Storey to set the tone
Sarah Storey has been backed to be a trailblazer in the style of Bradley Wiggins at the Paralympics.
Last Updated: 29/08/12 5:02pm
Sarah Storey has been backed to be a trailblazer in the style of Bradley Wiggins as Great Britain's Paralympic cyclists bid to emulate the success of their Olympic counterparts at London 2012.
The 34-year-old from Manchester is a seven-time Paralympic champion, winning five titles as a swimmer before switching to the bike in Beijing in 2008, winning two gold medals.
Wiggins won the Tour de France and Olympic time-trial gold before the track programme began and Britain won seven more medals in the velodrome.
Storey and Crystal Lane are set to be the first Britons on the track in the Paralympics in qualification for the women's C5 three-kilometre individual pursuit, with Storey expected to defend her title in front of a 6,000-strong partisan crowd on the opening day.
Chris Furber, lead coach of British Cycling's Para-cycling team, said: "She comes with years and years of experience. She's competed on the very biggest stage - the Commonwealth Games, the Para-cycling World Championships, the Paralympic Games and also able-bodied World Cups as well.
"She knows exactly what it's like to perform in front of a big crowd.
"It's a big bonus for us that she's our first rider on track because we saw in the Olympics that that momentum, from Bradley Wiggins' win, is all-important to the squad.
"That will be great for us to get her in action in day one in arguably her strongest event."
Storey and Lane may be the first Britons on track, but the first medal event is the men's C1-2-3 one-kilometre time-trial featuring Darren Kenny, Rik Waddon and Mark Colbourne.
The event is set to be factored according to impairment. C1 world champion Colbourne is likely to be slower than C3 riders Kenny and Waddon, who finished first and second respectively in Beijing, but the Welshman could claim gold depending on the officials' calculators.
Joint categories mean Britain face a stiff task to emulate their 2008 haul, when they won 12 of 13 events entered on the track.
The challenge can be compared to the difficulties the Olympic team faced with the one rider per nation per event rule introduced by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Furber added: "It's a tough ask for us. The UCI changed the classification system, rightly so. It was the right thing for the sport, but not for us.
"They've combined some of the sprint events. In the C4/C5 kilo (which takes place on Friday) we have Jon-Allan Butterworth, the C5 world champion, and Jody Cundy, the C4 world champion, racing for one medal. We've got guys in combined events racing for the same medal."
One class in which Britain have two strong chances is the men's tandem, where blind and visually impaired duo Anthony Kappes and Neil Fachie are set to team up with their sighted pilot riders Craig MacLean and Barney Storey, respectively.
Fachie and MacLean won the event at the 2011 World Championships in Italy, with Kappes and Storey second; Kappes and MacLean won the 2012 World Championships in Los Angeles, with Fachie and Storey second.