In a repeat of the Rio 2016 final, Storey continued her dominance of an event she has now won at four successive Games to take her career Paralympic gold medal haul to 15, one short of swimmer Mike Kenny’s British record.
The 43-year-old broke her own world record in the heats but did not need to repeat the trick in the deciding race at the Izu Velodrome as she remarkably caught Lane-Wright inside eight laps.
“For me as an individual, I’ve won a medal at every single Games I’ve been to and this is my fourth time winning the individual pursuit in a row,” she told Channel 4. “I broke the world record in Beijing, in London, in Rio, this morning, so for me it’s been quite overwhelming to try and keep backing that up and keep pushing on the pedals to go faster and faster."
She will next week have a chance to surpass Kenny when she bids to retain her C5 time trial and C4-5 road race crowns.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Storey arrived in Japan having not performed competitively on the track since January 2020. She was also without the support bubble of husband and fellow track cyclist Barney, eight-year-old daughter Louisa – who travelled to Rio five years ago – and three-year-old son Charlie.
Yet there were no signs of rustiness or adverse effects in the heats as a superb ride underlined her class and sent a warning to her rivals. Compatriot Lane-Wright had finished more than eight seconds adrift of that record-breaking time during her initial 12 laps – a personal record of 3:35.061. She would have needed to pull of a major shock to close the gap in the medal race.
It never looked likely to materialise.
“As much as I’m up against Sarah, it’s me versus me all the time,” she told Channel 4.
“To get such a big PB this morning, to me that’s my gold medal. Paralympic sport is still really in its infancy and it’s a hard job, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had and I absolutely love it, so please be inspired.”
Storey, whose illustrious career began as a swimmer and has now spanned eight Games, flew out of the blocks and mercilessly chased down her team-mate to secure another spot at the top of the podium and, in the process, take a major step to further cementing her place in the history books.
French rider Marie Patouillet clinched bronze after beating New Zealander Nicole Murray.
Visually impaired rider Steve Bate secured GB’s third track cycling medal of the day but had to settle for silver following another irresistible performance from Dutchman Tristan Bangma. Bangma and pilot Patrick Bos set a new world record in qualifying, becoming the first pair to go under four minutes in the event, finishing in 3:59.470. Their stunning form continued in the final as Bate was unable to defend the title he won in Brazil after he and pilot Adam Duggleby were powerless to being caught.