SUSAN Powell's two-wheels ensured Australia's medal pursuit got off to a flying start in London.
The 45-year-old Canberra-based cyclist set a new world record in qualifying on her way to winning Australia's first gold medal after her victory in the C4 3000m individual pursuit final at the velodrome.
Powell launched her campaign for gold with a blistering qualifying ride of 4:03.306secs, two seconds quicker than the previous world record.
She carried that form into the final, beating American Megan Fisher by two seconds.
Powell said it was going to take some time before she fully realised what she had achieved.
"I still can't believe it," she said. "It is a dream. You think 'oh maybe' you do not dare to believe you really can."
Powell's dream win signalled the start of a day to remember for Australian cyclists - Australia ended day one of competition with five medals, the most of any country.
Seven-time Paralympian Kieran Modra and his pilot Scott McPhee won gold in the 4000m pursuit in the visually-impaired tandems giving Modra his third consecutive title in the event.
Modra now has five gold medals to his name, but this effort may be the most remarkable, coming after he was involved in a collision with a car late last year that left him with two broken vertebrae in his neck and one in his lower spine.
Modra and McPhee beat teammates Bryce Lindores and pilot Sean Finning in the final.
Simone Kennedy won silver in the combined C 1-3 pursuit, while Alexandra Green beat former world record holder, Canadian Marie-Claude Molnar, to the bronze medal in the C4 pursuit.
Australia also tasted plenty of success away from the velodrome.
Ballina swimmer Jacqui Freney won Australia's third gold medal of the day after setting a new Paralympic record.
The 20-year-old won the S7 100m backstroke final by more than two seconds.
Freney was the fastest in qualifying with a then Paralympic record of 1:23.34secs, which she broke by half a second in the final. It was Freney's first gold medal after she won three bronze in Beijing four years ago.
Matt Cowdrey won a 16th Paralympics medal after winning silver in the S9 100m butterfly final, while Rick Pendleton picked up bronze in the SM10 200m medley. Natalie Smith won bronze in the 10m air rifle standing.
The results lifted Australia to second on the medal table behind China which has five gold, six silver and three bronze.
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