31 January 2020
Van Gass soars to stunning gold at Track World Championships
Jaco van Gass put Thursday’s heartbreak behind him to claim gold in the C3 kilo time trial at the Para-cycling Track World Championships in Milton.
The 33-year-old had won silver the day before in the C3 pursuit, losing out to defending champion David Nicholas after leading for much of the final but making amends on Friday with a stunning victory.
The South African-born rider picked up his maiden World Championship win after stopping the clock in 1m7.867s in Canada, holding off Russia’s Aleksei Obydennov and Spain’s Eduardo Santas Asensio who claimed respective silver and bronze.
And van Gass, who narrowly missed out on a spot at Rio 2016 but is now vying for a seat on the plane to Tokyo next year, was delighted to finally be crowned champion of the world.
“It’s fantastic, I’m a bit speechless,” he said.
“It’s everything I’ve worked for for a very long time - to finally have a rainbow jersey means the world.
“Last night spurred me on, and I woke up this morning and just thought ‘you know what, it’s a good time to let it all out.’
“I felt a bit more settled and relaxed today and I think that showed - I just went out as hard as I possibly could, and came away with a good time.
“This classification is very competitive so it was very nerve-racking, but it’s just fantastic.”
Britain’s Fin Graham finished sixth in the event with a time of 1m10.834s, but it was van Gass who reigned supreme and secured his spot at the summit of the podium.
The former soldier went into the championships having been re-classified from a C4 cyclist to a C3 last year, a change he had long been desiring and one that reaped immediate rewards on the Canadian boards.
And his victory now leaves him in a promising position for a Paralympic spot, eyeing up a maiden Games appearance with a crucial few months looming.
“To potentially get selected for Tokyo would be absolutely amazing,” he added.
“It’s a dream I’ve had for a very long time, and it would be the fulfilment of one of the challenges I set myself.
“It would mean a great deal – if selected, I truly want to show not just Great Britain but the world that I truly deserve that place and will do my very best.”
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