A wounded Lynn ex-serviceman, who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, made his international debut representing Great Britain at the UCI Para-cycling Road Cup.
Former Staff Sergeant, Steve Arnold competed in the first of back-to-back UCI C1 events in northern Italy in Verola last weekend, and the second is in Brixia over the bank holiday (Friday to Monday).
This began the international road season for the squad, ahead of the first round of the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Maniago, Italy on June 5.
Paralympic Development Programme rider Arnold finished 11th in the road race and 12th in the time trial.
Arnold, who served with 23 Engineer Regiment, lost both of his legs above the knee when he stepped on an IED when leading a search team in Afghanistan in April 2011. Only a couple of months later, Arnold had taken up hand cycling through the Help For Heroes Sports Recovery Program, and since then has been selected by the British Cycling Development Team to race on national and European circuits.
Arnold was joined by the likes of current world road race champion Lora Turnham, and Paralympic silver medallist Karen Darke. Those more experienced competitors head a team featuring a number of Paralympic Development Programme riders making their international debuts, of which Arnold is one.
Martin Colclough, Head of Help for Heroes Sports Recovery said: “We’re extremely proud that Steve has been selected onto the Great Britain team to compete at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships, and will be making his international debut.
“Steve is a fantastic example of what wounded, injured and sick service men and women can do post injury, by using the power of adaptive sport throughout their recovery.”
Lead Para-Cycling coach Jon Norfolk said: “The events in Verola and Brixia will provide the first opportunity to see where the riders are in terms of form and fitness against their international competitors as we start to build towards the road world championships in July in Switzerland.”
Great Britain Para-cycling Team road coach Paul Dring said: “There were some very encouraging signs at the start of a busy season whilst also identifying key areas where we can make further improvements.”
Arnold also recently met Manchester City and England footballer James Milner and received a cheque on behalf of Help for Heroes from the JM7 Foundation.
The Foundation donated £130,000 in total to charity partners NSPCC, Help for Heroes and Beat Blood Cancers.
* Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have put on 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 2,100 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/sports-recovery or follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.