UCI Cycling World Championships: Fife Paralympian set to seize big opportunity
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The 23-year-old from Kirkcaldy, who grew up riding his BMX bike through Glentress Forest, is ready to seize the once in a lifetime opportunity as his family and friends plan to flock to Glasgow for the biggest cycling event of all time – and a sense of opportunity isn't lost on the Fife rider, set to be one of the stars of the para-cycling programme that starts on August 3.
“I’m taking a lot of confidence into it but it’s a World Championships so everyone is going to be on the top of their game for it," said Graham, who races in the C3 category. “It being in Scotland is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy it as much as I can and hopefully get the good results to go with it.
“This is the first time I’ve been in this situation so I’m trying not to think about it too much but the fact that it’s a home Worlds magnifies it even more. You’ve got all your friends and family coming to watch and you want to do well in front of them. I’m trying not to overthink it, the results that I’ve had this year have been good so it's given me that confidence that I know I’m going well. It’s a first for everyone, having all the cycling disciplines at the same time, no one’s done that before and no one knows how to approach it.”
With world titles to defend, Graham comes into the World Championships off the back of World Cup time trial and road race golds in Alabama.
Team-mate and double Paralympic champion Ben Watson took silver in the road race and, after ten weeks of ramping up preparation for Worlds, the whole British Cycling team enter the para programme as ones to beat.
A full British podium in Belgium earlier on in May stands Graham, Watson and world record holder Jaco van Gass in good stead for more success at the top.
He said: “When we’re racing, we’re sharing rooms for two or three weeks at a time so it’s nice having them as teammates because they push you to be the best.
“I’m trying to go about it like any other race and hopefully by doing all that right, race performance comes along with that.
“I always try to be as optimistic as possible; I hate saying stuff that makes me come across as big-headed, but you’ve got to have that self-motivation, otherwise , who else is going to do it for you?
“If I could win one it would be the individual pursuit on the track because it will be a full velodrome and it will be something that I’ve not experienced in front of a home crowd in Scotland. It’ll be an unreal environment to be in.”
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