EMILIE Miller may not officially be able to call herself a dual world champion, but the efforts of the Bathurst Para-Cyclist in South Africa last week were certainly fitting of a rainbow jersey.
As the only female H1 categorised competitor who raced at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, Miller was not awarded a gold medal or victors’ jersey even though she won the road race and individual time trial.
That decision is based on the ‘minus one factor’ ruling applied to races where less than four competitors take part in an event. It sees the number of medals awarded based on the total number of competitors, minus one.
As Miller was the sole competitor, the ruling means no medals were awarded to her.
Still, as Miller’s coach Toireasa Gallagher pointed out, her efforts were still worthy of a champion.
“The reason Emilie was the only competitor was because the other countries with H1 women thought the course was too hard for them to complete,” Gallagher said.
“So even more reason why Emilie should have been recognised for her achievement.
“Unfortunately, the UCI haven't fully considered the needs of the H1 women yet, but with Emilie competing she is pioneering the way and showing what H1 women should have as race conditions.
“While at these championships Emile has been named a trailblazer, and that's exactly what she is.”
The individual time trial course was especially testing for Miller, but despite having to tackle what Gallagher labelled “ridiculously steep” hills in windy conditions, she managed to compete the 15.5 kilometre Midmar Dam circuit.
She clocked a time of one hour, 47 minutes, 32.51 seconds.
The 18.2km road race was also testing for Miller as each lap of the 6km circuit featured a pair of climbs. But once again she made it to the finish line, clocking 1:35.21.
“Emilie went very well and there was a massive smile on her face at the end of the road race,” Gallagher said.
“As Emilie's coach I am extremely proud.”