September 13, 2008 (Beijing, China) — Shauna Whyte of Hinton, Alta., brilliantly negotiated the last turn to lead a group to the finish line for fourth place overall in the women’s handcycling event on Saturday at the Paralympic Games.
Andrea Eskau of Germany took the gold clocking the 36.3 kilometre race in one hour and 13 minutes beating Monique van der Vorst of the Netherlands in a sprint to the finish. Dorothee Vieth of Germany was third 0:27 seconds behind the leaders.
Whyte, a three-time winter Paralympian competing at her first summer Games, was in a group of four riders than finished just a little over four minutes behind the medallists.
“It was a really good race and I worked really hard for that fourth place,” said Whyte. “I don’t think I was the strongest rider in that group but I had the best sprint at the end. There’s a really wicked downhill at the end of the course and for us in the handcycling event we can’t lean the bike over with the three wheels. It was fast and furious and I knew I had to put everything on the line going down that hill.”
Whyte plans to continue competing in cycling in the summer and biathlon and cross country skiing in the winter. Her next major goal is the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver- Whistler.
“I hadn’t competed in quite some time before this week and the performance today was a big confidence boost for me,” she said. “I consider this a new beginning and I wanted to show than I’m back now. I’m not only looking at Vancouver but beyond that as well. I’m excited about the possibilities in both cycling and skiing.”
In the LC3-LC4- CP3 men’s paracycling road race, Jean QuÃ©villon of Ste-AdÃ¨le, Que., and Brayden McDougall of Calgary were 24th and 27th respectively. In the men’s LC1-LC2-CP4 race Eric Bourgault of Orford, Que., did not finish.
The cycling competition at the Paralympic Games concludes Sunday with road races in four more categories.