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Out and golden: Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy races to repeat title in time trial

She and pilot Eve McCrystal net their second Paralympic medal in Tokyo and defend the women’s B time trial gold they earned in Rio.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Day Seven
Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal add to Team LGBTQ’s mounting medal total in a wire-to-wire win in the Women’s B Time Trial at the Paralympics
Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal laid down an all-out effort on Fuji International Speedway over 32 kilometers (19.88 miles) for the tandem’s second consecutive Paralympic gold in the women’s B time trial. It also added to a growing total for Team LGBTQ at these Games.

They won the gold with a time of 47:32.07.

The team of Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall of Great Britain netted silver. Sweden’s Louise Jannering and pilot Anna Svaerdstroem got the bronze.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Day Seven
Dunlevy (in rear) provided the power as she and pilot McCrystal (front) built an early advantage that became a victory of nearly 1-minute over the silver medal tandem from Great Britain
Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Dunlevy told RTE Sport that she saw a big performance coming.

“I could feel it before we went,” she said. “I was like ‘we are going to win this’. I wanted it and we wanted to do a good ride and get the best out of ourselves.”

She and McCrystal pushed off from the start line and quickly built a strong lead. By the end of the first circuit around Fuji they held a 9-second advantage according to the time charts, and that advantage grew towards gold.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Day Seven
McCrystal and Dunlevy celebrate crossing the finish line and grabbing a second straight gold in the event
Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

“We went for it,” McCrystal told RTÉ Sport. “I just had it in my head, ‘I’m not letting this go now’. We just went for it and I think we’re after having the ride of our lives. I can’t believe it.”

After three more circuits, Dunlevy and McCrystal flashed across the Fuji finish line and gave Ireland a winning morning wake-up call, including family gathered around the television. The pair had repeated their effort from Rio.

“We hoped to get a medal and and we hoped to get gold,” Dunlevy said after the winning ride. “To come away and retain our title, which is something we’ve been working for for the last five years, it means the world.”

Dunlevy won silver in the Women’s B 3000-meter Individual Pursuit competition for her first track cycling Paralympic medal in Tokyo three days ago. In the competition she briefly held a world record in qualifying and said afterward, “If someone said to me before that I would get a medal in the pursuit, I would never have thought it in my wildest dreams.”

The dreams, and the reality, were bigger and brighter on the road in the women’s B time trial Tuesday.

With a silver and a gold in hand, they both have one more event on their Paralympic schedule. They get a chance to add another medal to the collection in the Women’s B Road Race back at Fuji September 3.