Australian track cyclist Darren Hicks has won a Paralympic silver medal after fastest qualifier Ewoud Vromant was disqualified.
- Darren Hicks finished second in the men’s C2 3,000 metres individual pursuit
- Hicks was promoted to the gold-medal race following the disqualification of another rider
- David Nicholas took bronze in the men’s C3 3,000 metres individual pursuit
Hicks was no match for France’s Alexandre Leaute, who broke the world record in their men’s C2 3,000 metres individual pursuit gold-medal race in Tokyo.
Leaute clocked three minutes and 31.478 seconds, more than three seconds quicker than the Australian’s 3:35.064.
Hicks’s result was backed up by teammate David Nicholas, who claimed bronze in the men’s C3 3,000 metres individual pursuit.
The two medals followed the brace of golds won by Australians Paige Greco and Emily Petricola on day one of competition at the Izu Velodrome.
While Leaute went faster than his qualifying time, Hicks could not back up from his 3:33.589 earlier on Thursday in his Paralympic debut.
Hicks was resigned to riding for bronze after initially qualifying third-fastest, telling the Seven Network he made a “miscalculation” in his ride.
Vromant had qualified fastest and broken his own world record after his heat had to be re-started, clocking 3:30.290 and Leaute was next on 3:31.817.
But officials from track cycling’s global governing body, the UCI, disqualified the Belgian under rules relating to his position on the bike.
“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 stocked.”
Hicks said he was satisfied to ride for bronze and once word came through about the disqualification, the Australian camp 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.
Vromant, like Hicks, is an amputee and their bikes are modified so there is a cradle.
He apparently did not ride with his pelvis over the saddle and did not maintain contact with the saddle during his ride.
Nicholas easily beat Spain’s Eduardo Santas Asensio to finish third in his event.
Nicholas, a two-time Paralympic cycling gold medallist, rode 3:25.877 and beat the Spaniard by nearly two seconds.