Storey savours her greatest Games

  • Last Updated: September 6 2012, 18:42 BST

Great Britain's Sarah Storey hailed her sixth Paralympics as her greatest yet as she celebrated a fourth title of London 2012 and an 11th gold medal in all.

Sarah Storey: Won her 11th Paralympic title

The 34-year-old from Manchester won five Paralympic gold medals as a swimmer and at London 2012 triumphed in the 500metres time-trial and three-kilometres individual pursuit at the velodrome before taking time-trial and road race gold at Brands Hatch.

"It's just amazing," said Storey, who won her first gold as a swimmer in Barcelona in 1992, aged 14.

"This has been the greatest Games for me. I won two gold medals in Barcelona, three in Atlanta, two in Beijing. I've won four here - I can't get over it.

"I wanted to put in my very best performance today and finish off the job I set out to do at the beginning of the week.

"I wanted to win every race and the outcome of that has been four gold medals, but you have to stay focused on the process that you've got to do and every race has got its own challenges.

"I just like winning bike races. The medals are the extra bonus at the end of them."

Storey's talents in the pool, on the track and on the open road have yielded 22 Paralympic medals and today she motored to an imperious victory in the women's C4-5 64km road race, attacking 2km in and winning by more than seven minutes to join Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain's most successful female Paralympian.

David Roberts also has 11 golds, while another swimmer, Mike Kenny, won 16 gold medals from 1976 to 1988, with some of his successes coming in a 25-metre pool.

Storey received the congratulations of former wheelchair racer Grey-Thompson, who won 16 medals in all and is working for BBC Radio 5 Live, almost immediately after the race.

Storey, who free-wheeled over the line to rapturous acclaim from the partisan crowd, added: "To equal Tanni's a huge honour. Her career was absolutely immense.

"She's an absolutely incredible girl and I can't wait to give her a big hug."

Grey-Thompson was impressed with the manner of Storey's victory as the margin of success was so supreme, Poland's Anna Harkowska finishing seven minutes 22 seconds behind in second and Kelly Crowley of the United States further adrift in third. Crystal Lane finished 14:14 behind in sixth place.

Storey, who was born with a partly formed left hand, relishes what she described as "suicide solo missions".

"I've been going off the front of road races all year," she said, listing events in South Africa, France - where Marianne Vos was in pursuit a week before the Dutchwoman became Olympic champion - and the British Championships in North Yorkshire.

"I train on my own with my power meter all the time. I'm incredibly strong in that area.

"I really do love what I do, I love training really hard. I'm a bit of a sadist really.

"My team-mates at 4Viored call me a bit of a motorbike. I quite like training on my own. I always have done.

"I guess following the black line in the swimming pool's given me that.

"I'm just having so much fun and I hope that can continue until someone takes the reins and makes it faster."

Storey was in contention for a place in the Olympic team pursuit squad until last December and it is feasible she could double up at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, aged 38, as she continues her stellar career.

But the Paralympics remain the priority.

"Hopefully that's shown people what real athletes we are at the Parallel Olympics," she added.

"I'm just so proud to have been a part of it for so long and hopefully proud enough to go on and do it for some more years as well."

Storey caught and overtook the men's C1-3 road race, which started earlier and was taking place on the circuit at the same time.

She believes the women should now be on course with their male equivalents, rather than a different classification, and described their presence as "a bit of a hindrance" before praising the officials for neutralising the men's event to allow her to race on.

"I'd forgotten they were on the road until I caught them," added Storey, who celebrated with husband Barney at the finish line with a Union Flag over her shoulders.

Shaun McKeown and Mark Colbourne placed 21st and 24th, respectively, as Italy's Roberto Bargna won the men's race in a sprint finish.

Earlier Jon-Allan Butterworth withdrew from the men's C4/5 80km event after four of the 10 laps.

The 26-year-old from Sutton Coldfield, who lost his left arm while serving with the RAF in Iraq, won three silver medals at the velodrome and was dropped by the main pack before the halfway stage of the race.

The winner was Ukraine's Yegor Dementyev, while the women's C1-3 race was won by Zeng Sini of China.