Mark Rohan has won another gold medal for Ireland in the men's individual H1 road race at the Paralympics
Rohan clocked a time of 1:53.09 to take gold two seconds clear of Swiss cyclist Tobias Fankhauser (1:53.11). Austria’s Wolfgang Schattauer took the bronze with a time of 1:53.24.
Rohan dictated the pace of the race in the second half of the 48km event, as defending Paralympic champion Schattauer, from Austria, had to settle for bronze.
Speaking after the race, Rohan said: “The Austrian guy (Schattauer) said with two laps to go that he couldn’t do any work on the hills so I kept a bit for the sprint finish and I knew I could take gold.”
The ten starters in the H1 handcycling road race were whittled down to six after the first lap, with all the favourites still in contention.
And in what became a war of attrition, the bunch depleted as the laps were clocked with the cyclists set to complete six laps of the 8km loop.
After 36km Rohan made his move as he explained: “Myself and my coach Brian Nugent had a plan before the race. I knew if I was there after four and a half laps I could take it.”
This was the longest race that Rohan has raced to date, although he clocks between 15 and 20 hours of handcycling per week.
Fankhauser raced an impressive race to stick with the Irish powerhouse, with Beijing champ Schauttauer battling hard to keep on track, holding onto a respectable bronze.
After the medal ceremony Rohan reflected on the journey to this double gold medal.
He said: “It has been a tough ten years, and to end with this.
“I have always given 100 percent to sport. Sport is sport, whether it is in an able-bodied competition or a disabled competition. The emotions are the same.”
Rohan will now take a short break where he will turn his hand to a few more sports before re-focusing on the Rio 2016 Games. He also plans to study sports development.
Rohan added: “I want to promote disability sports. I want to show people that there are real opportunities out there in sport if you have a disability. I think I will get a lot of satisfaction out of that.”