AN athlete from Pencarreg has missed out on his first World Cup podium after making huge progress in Alabama last week.

Handcyclist Luke Jones finished fourth against some of the best competitors on the planet at the World Cup time trial in Maniago, Italy in early May – a result he described as his best ever.

He completed the same event at the Hunstville-Alabame UCI Parac Cycling World Cup in a time that was good enough to secure second place but, unfortunately, he was disqualified at the end.

The former British road race and time trial champion said: “I made a slight error on the course. There were some cones out and I went inside them rather than around them.

“In theory I cut the course a little bit short. There were no connoisseurs there and I didn’t even realise I’d done it.

“I crossed the line and waited for the others to come in and once everyone had completed I celebrated getting second place.

“Then my coach who was in the follow car behind me said ‘just to make you aware Luke you went inside the cones. Nobody’s seen but I wanted to let you know'.

“As soon as I heard that I made the decision that we go to see the UCI and the connoisseurs to explain the situation to them. My coach told them as I felt a bit emotional, but obviously I wanted to fess up."

Jones, who is targeting a place at the Paralympics and the World Championships in Dumfries in August, added: “They weren’t sure what to do because there wasn't any evidence. However, I made the decision that I didn’t wasn’t to take my second place and my first ever podium at a World Cup event.

“I didn’t wasn’t to take any advantage and I wanted to earn the second place properly so I made the decision to basically get a disqualification.

“They thought about slotting me in at fourth or fifth which is where they thought I would have been had I done the full course, because I only cut out around 175 metres.

“However I didn’t feel right and I got disqualified.”

Jones, who overcame a bout of illness after the racing in Italy and was a doubt to go to Alabama, finished 10th in the roadrace after another impressive display.

He made a solid start and was in the leading group for the whole race but lost out to ‘much stronger’ sprinters at the end, coming in just a couple of seconds off the world champion.