Australian track cyclist Darren Hicks has won a Paralympic silver medal after fastest qualifier Ewoud Vromont was disqualified.
Hicks was no match for Alexandre Leaute, who broke the world record in their C3 3000m individual pursuit gold medal ride-off.
Leaute clocked three minutes 31.478 seconds, more than three seconds quicker than the Australian’s 3:35.064.
While Leaute went faster than his qualifying time, Hicks could not back up from his 3:33.589 earlier on Wednesday in his Paralympics debut.
Hicks rides to silver!
Congratulations to Darren Hicks, who has claimed a silver medal in the Men’s C2 Individual Pursuit at Izu Velodrome.
— AusCycling (@AusCyclingAus) August 26, 2021
Hicks was resigned to riding for bronze after initially qualifying third-fastest, telling the Seven Network he made a “miscalculation” in his ride.
Vromont had qualified fastest and broken his own world record after his heat had to be restarted, clocking 3:30.290 and Leaute was next on 3:31.817.
But UCI officials disqualified the Belgian under article 1.3.008 of the world governing body’s rules, relating to Vromont’s position on the bike.
Even though he didn't get the Gold, we're SUPER PROUD of you, Darren 🥈
— 7Sport (@7Sport) August 26, 2021
“I feel so much for Ewoud. He rode an incredible ride. He deserved to be in that gold medal ride-off,” Hicks said.
“I guess rules are rules. I will take the gift, that’s for sure.
“(My time) 3:35 is not quite what I wanted, but it’s also not too bad – (I’m) stoked, bloody stoked.”
Hicks said he was satisfied to ride for bronze and once word came through about the disqualification, they had to wait for any protest before confirmation he was in the gold medal ride-off instead.
“It’s crazy, but that’s sport,” Hicks said.
Vromont, like Hicks, is an amputee and their bikes are modified so there is a cradle.
The Belgian apparently did not ride with his pelvis over the saddle and did not maintain contact with the saddle during his ride.
BRONZE for Australia!
Congratulations to David Nicholas who has claimed bronze in the Men's C3 3000m Individual Pursuit at the Velodrome.#ReadySetTokyo #Tokyo2020 #Paralympics | @AusCyclingAus | @AusCyclingTeam https://t.co/wYTkd9HjVC
— AUS Paralympic Team (@AUSParalympics) August 26, 2021
Australian David Nicholas easily beat Spain’s Eduardo Santas Asensio for bronze in the men’s C3 3000m individual pursuit.
Nicholas, a two-time Paralympic cycling gold medallist, rode 3:25.877 and beat the Spaniard by nearly two seconds.