Hicks, Lemon announce arrival on world stage

Hicks, Lemon announce arrival on world stage

Champion athletes Darren Hicks and Meg Lemon reflect on their stunning results for Australia at the 2017 UCI Para-cycling World Road Championships in South Africa

FINALLY getting over a touch of jet lag the reality of the achievements of Darren Hicks and Meg Lemon to win half of Australia's eight medals at the UCI Para-cycling World Road Championshsips in Pietermaritzburg is sinking in.

For Darren, 32, his silver medals in the individual time trial and road race were the culmination of months of hard training and support from SASI including head coach Loz Shaw and Cycling Australia.

''Now that it has finished I can pull the medals out of a drawer and think, 'wow, how did that happen','' he said.

''It is such a surreal feeling to reach the elite level at my first world championship and to manage to get to the peak.

''To know that I was in the mix and then to make top two was just mindblowing.

''I had no idea how I would go. In the lead up the coaches and I made a plan how to attack the race which was to not push too hard in the first lap and then build up after that.

''At no stage did I get back to the pits and think I was a top three or top five.

''I remember sitting on my bike for about 45 minutes after my event chatting to the coaches and then Peter Day (Cycling Australia Para-cycling performance director) came over for a chat and asked how I thought I went and then he said, in a stirring way, apparently I had done good enough for second - I couldn't believe it.''

For Meg, 27, it also was a shock to mix it with the world's best and finish with two bronze medals in the individual time trial and road race.

"I can't believe what has happened,'' she said.

''It is pretty astonishing to be actually competing against other countries. I am still taking time to work out where we fit in. For us it is fun and enjoyable.''

Meg said the tough conditions made her result even more satisfying.

''The wind was horrendous and at times I struggled to stay upright,'' she said.

''But you do what you can, a lot of the girls have been racing for between 10 and 20 years and this was my first road world titles. Hopefully there a few more to come.

''But I have a lot of work still to do and I made a few mistakes which might have cost me a higher placing.

''My weight (light) helped me up the hill but not down the hill. That's something else I need to work on - my stability.''

Both Meg of Seacliff and Darren of Happy Valley said the backing from SASI and Cycling Australia had been outstanding in the lead up and during the event.

''The support we receive is astonishing,'' she said.

''Loz helped me so much get over my accident and to keep pushing. Cycling gives us, me, purpose and a reason to get back on the bike.''

For the time being the duo will have a short break before attending a training camp in Adelaide.

They will then focus on track and road national events during the next four or five months.

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Para athletes