Posted on Friday 8th April, 2022

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) is pleased to announce the selection of the New Zealand Para Cycling Team to compete at the 2022 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships (Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France) from 20-23 October.

The Team of five Para cyclists is headlined by three Tokyo 2020 Paralympians – Sarah Ellington (Greymouth), Nicole Murray (Cambridge), and Anna Taylor (Cambridge). Making up the rest of the Team are Nick Blincoe (Cambridge) and Devon Briggs (Cambridge). Taylor’s selection is subject to her return to a full training load.

Three of the Team, Murray, Ellington and Briggs, are fresh from the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Brisbane where Murray won two gold medals, Briggs won four gold medals, and Ellington won a silver and a bronze.

PNZ Performance Coach Damian Wiseman said:

“Five impressive Para athletes have been named today to represent New Zealand at the World Champs. They are all looking to prove themselves ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympics, and all have the potential to challenge the podium in October. As well as three incredible Tokyo Paralympians and Nick Blincoe who is a veteran of two prior World Championships, we have Devon Briggs making his international debut in France and looking to build his experience against world class competition.”

He continues:

“After two years marked by lockdowns and cancelled events, it’s fantastic to see the calibre of Para athletes we’re able to send to France.”

The World Championships will take place in the Montigny-le-Bretonneux Velodrome – also the venue for track cycling in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. The Para athletes will surely be imagining competing there in 2024.

Paralympics New Zealand Para Cycling Programme Manager Ryan Hollows explains the work which has gone into identifying and preparing the five competitors.

“Paralympics New Zealand has put in huge amounts of work behind the scenes so we can bring talented Para cyclists to their full potential and onto the international stage. A sport like Para cycling needs effective structures across talent identification and athlete development programmes. Through these structures, large numbers of Para athletes that in the past may not have had this opportunity are getting into Para sport.”

Paralympian #213 Sarah Ellington, who also chairs the PNZ Athletes’ Council, won a bronze at this event in 2019, and a silver in 2020. Ellington brings a wealth of experience to the velodrome in Montigny-le-Bretonneux as this is her fifth world championships. Ellington has incomplete paraplegia from an accident resulting in a loss of muscle power in both legs.

Paralympian #222 Nicole Murray will be looking to build on her outstanding silver medal winning performance at the 2018 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships. Murray, who had a personal best time in Tokyo 2020 for the Women’s Women’s C4-5 500m Time Trial Final as well as a 4th place finish in the Women’s C5 3000m Individual Pursuit, won two gold medals at the Oceania Track Championships in Brisbane last weekend. She competes in the C5 category, having lost her left hand in a childhood accident.

Paralympian #225 Anna Taylor made her debut at the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships, not long after entering the sport in 2018. Making her Paralympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Anna placed 5th in the Women’s C4 3000m Individual Pursuit. Her time of 3:54.167 was a new Paralympic Record but was later beaten by a fellow competitor. Previously a high performance rower, Taylor had a severe disc prolapse that compressed her spinal cord.

Nick Blincoe will return to this event in 2022 following his 6th place finish in the Men’s C4 Individual Time Trial in January 2020. Blincoe, who has a loss of muscle power in his right arm following a rugby injury to his shoulder, won two bronze medals at the recent Track National Championships. He is looking forward to getting back to the international stage now that travel restrictions have lifted.

This will be the first major international event for Devon Briggs, who won four golds last weekend at the Oceania Track Championships in Brisbane. Briggs competes under the C4 classification, having been born with severe bilateral talipes (club feet).

The UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships, which haven’t taken place since January 2020, will be a return to regular international competition for New Zealand’s top Para cyclists, and a great opportunity for all five Para cyclists to see where they sit against the best in the world.

The New Zealand Para Cycling Team

Para cyclistClassificationImpairmentClubResides
Sarah EllingtonC2Loss of muscle power (Incomplete paraplegia)AucklandGreymouth
Nicole MurrayC5Limb deficiency (left wrist amputee)Te AwamutuCambridge
Nick BlincoeC4Loss of muscle power (complete right arm)AucklandCambridge
Anna TaylorC4Incomplete spinal cord injury (due to acute cauda equina syndrome)Te AwamutuCambridge
Devon BriggsC4Bilateral talipes (club feet)Te AwamutuCambridge