By Paul Osborne

Fiona Southorn has been gifted a specially customised state-of-the-art bike by BDO ©Getty ImagesDecember 23 - London 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist Fiona Southorn has been gifted a state-of-the-art customised bike as part of her ambassador role for the 2014 BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge.

The New Zealand three-time Paralympian has won numerous medals, including her Paralympic and world bronzes, on a hefty men's bike and feels this new lightweight customised bike will provide her with the opportunity to push forward in her career.

"Over the years I have seen other elite athletes get lots of support, so I'm super excited to have BDO's help and support with this bike and I can't wait to race on it and show the world and my fellow supporters what it can do," Southorn said.

"My previous bike was too big and heavy.

"This bike is lightweight and built for a small lady like myself.

"It's going to allow me to be more competitive on the world stage."

The Pinarello Graal Time Trial bike, worth $24,999 ($15,150/€18,135), has been specifically customised by cycle retailer Kiwivelo to maximise her performance as a Paralympic athlete.

Fiona Southorn won bronze in the C5 3km individual pursuit at London 2012 ©Getty ImagesFiona Southorn won bronze in the C5 3km individual pursuit at London 2012 ©Getty Images

With Southorn's left arm slightly shorter than her right and no fingers on her left hand, function grip and breaking can be tricky, however that won't be a problem with her new Shimano Dura Ace Electronics 22 speed componentry, with electronic gear changing for both front and rear derailleurs by electronic push-buttons located on one aerobar extension, and one brake level.

The brakes are also modified for Southorn's needs, allowing just one lever to activate both the front and rear through the use of a 30/70 bias adjuster set-up.

As an ambassador for accounting firm BDO, Southorn will be participating in the 2014 Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge, an annual seven-day, 800km event running from February 9-14, in aid of Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand.

The bike was presented to Southorn by David O'Connor, chairman of BDO New Zealand, at a pre-event coaching session.

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