Fraser in Sharp form at Paralympics

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TOP EFFORT: Tauranga road cyclist Fraser Sharp finished just outside the top 10 in Rio this morning. PHOTO:FILE
TOP EFFORT: Tauranga road cyclist Fraser Sharp finished just outside the top 10 in Rio this morning. PHOTO:FILE

Paralympic debutant Fraser Sharp finished the Men's Road Race C3 just outside the top 10 in 11th place this morning.

His time was of 1:51: 48 was 2m:37s off the gold medal time of 1:49.11 set by German Steffen Warius.

The 71.1km race was three laps of a 23.7km course with a relatively flat race profile, with a few hills.

An unfortunate accident saw Sharp fall from his bike during the race - thankfully unhurt.

"It has been said it was a gutsy ride but to me I wouldn't expect anything else," he said.

"It's been 1 whirlwind Olympian campaign but today's 71km road race was going well until a Canadian C2 rider did a move he shouldn't have and hit the deck towards the end of the 1st lap, with his bike coming at me.

"I had to make a split decision choice (that's not my forte) to do I bunny hop (not good at that) and run the risk of landing on his head, or hit the deck, so I swerved but hit the deck at slow speed.

"I cracked my helmet without a scratch on my body.

"I picked my bottles up - left my nose piece behind and picked my chain up and got into TT mode for 40km and caught the bunch with 6 - 7km to go.

"I tried to ride away from bunch in last 2.5km to go to no avail."

Sharp was 20th after the opening lap following the fall, 14th after the second lap and came home strongly to move up three places to finish 11th.

Today's road race incorporated riders from the Men's C1 and C2 categories as well as Sharps' own C3 class.

It was an exceptional result for the Tauranga local, who was only called up to the New Zealand Paralympic team just over two weeks ago with Para-Canoeist Scott Martlew, after New Zealand was reallocated two more male slots for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games following the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Team.

On Friday Sharp finished in 8th place in the men's Time Trial C3 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, in a time of 42:20.07.

Sharp said after his Time Trial on Friday is still pinching himself he is in Rio.

"It has been a heck of a blur. I feel if I blink I will miss it. The whole thing came around so quick and here I am in Rio at my first Paralympics.

"It is a good feeling to be an Olympian.

"I am very fortunate with the help and the faith Paralympics NZ have put in myself to fund my coach over here with me who has been an exceptional help.

"I want to say a huge appreciation to the Tauranga community and the Tauranga Road Cycle Club. The support has been immense.

"Words cannot say how much it means to me."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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