April 1 - Britain’s Paralympic cycling team, who won 17 gold medals in Beijing last year, will be well represented at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester next month, led by Darren Kenny (pictured).
The Bournemouth rider won four golds and a silver medal in Beijing and was named the Sports Journalist Association Disability Sports Person of the Year.
The home of British Cycling, the Manchester Velodrome, will see Kenny take on double Paralympic champion Simon Richardson and silver medallist Rik Waddon in the LC3/CP3 1km time trial and 3km pursuit events.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to trying to add to my 11 BT Paralympic World Cup medals I have won so far.”
Manchester-based cyclists Sarah Storey and Jody Cundy will also be hoping to continue the impressive form they showed in Beijing.
Storey, who married fellow cycling gold medallist Barney Storey in 2008, was a Paralympic swimming champion with an international career spanning 13 years before she made the switch to cycling and emerged with two gold medals in Beijing in the individual pursuit and road time trial.
Storey will compete in the 500 metres time trial and individual pursuit events in May, whilst husband Barney will pilot Anthony Kappes in the men’s tandem sprint events.
She said: “We continue to push the boundaries of performance and as a result the BT Paralympic World Cup is so important to us.
"It gives us a great focus at the start of the season and it’s so important to challenge ourselves against the best in the run-up to the World Championships.
"Plus it’s on our doorstep so it’s always a really special event."
Cundy (pictured) is another successful swimmer-turned-cyclist, winning the kilo and team sprint titles in Beijing.
He will compete in the LC1/LC2 1km time trial event with fellow double Paralympic champion Mark Bristow.
Cundy said: “Training has been going really well so I’m hoping I can start 2009 with another record.
"It’s what drives me on the track.
"It’s such an adrenaline rush when you’re moving at 50 miles per hour, something you don’t really experience when swimming and to set a world record would just be ithe icing on the cake."
Another double gold medallist competing in Manchester is Glasgow’s Aileen McGlynn, who won the tandem 1km time trial and women’s pursuit.
She said: “I am looking forward to competing at the BT Paralympic World Cup in May; the first major competition since the Beijing Paralympics.
"I will be taking to the boards with a new tandem pilot, Vicky Begg from Glasgow, and we are hoping to do our best in our first international outing together.”
ParalympicsGB chief executive Phil Lane said: “We are delighted that so many of the Beijing Paralympic cycling champions are returning to Manchester for the BT Paralympic World Cup again this year.
“Britain has a strong history in the sport and the Paralympic cyclists are very much as inspirational and successful as their Olympic counterparts and we look forward to seeing what further achievements the cyclists can make as they start on the road to a home Paralympics in 2012.”
The BT Paralympic World Cup is the first major multi-sport elite disability event to be staged since the Beijing Paralympic Games and major international stars and a strong British contingent are expected.
The competition will be staged in Manchester from May 20-25, with over 400 competitors from over 31 countries scheduled to compete.
Athletes will compete in four sports at world class competition venues in Manchester: wheelchair basketball will be hosted at the Manchester Regional Arena on May 20-23, with the venue also holding the athletics competition on May 24.
The Manchester Velodrome plays home to the track cycling competition on May 20-22, whilst the Manchester Aquatics Centre will again host the swimming competition on May 25.
Tickets for the BT Paralympic World Cup are now on sale and can be purchased via the event website at www.btparalympicworldcup.com or the ParalympicsGB website at www.paralympics.org.uk or by calling 0844 8471622.
Tickets cost £3 per session.