Para-cycling powerhouse Jaco van Gass hopes the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow will mark a return to full form after he was floored by a virus last year.
The 36-year-old has found that remnants of fatigue are still creeping into his racing after being laid low by serious illness in the lead-up to the 2022 showpiece in Paris.
Even on an off day, the Paralympic champion was still in world record form and claimed the rainbow jersey in both the 1km time trial and the team sprint on the track.
The South African-born C3 rider, who lives in Sale, will be hoping to add another to his collection when the Championships commence in Glasgow and across Scotland on 3 August.
He said: “It was a full rebuild after the illness and into this year, we’ve done a lot of practise on the road.
“We had to make a difficult decision when we got to Paris, I pulled out of the omnium, pulled out of the pursuit which is one of my favourite events.
“That short sharp stuff was there, it was just endurance I really struggled with.
“I do feel like there’s a bit of an edge I’ve lost from the big endurance ride, they seem to affect me and I’m having quite long recovery periods from that.
“At the end of the day I know that I will bring 110% and we’ll have to see on the day, but I can only do what I can do.
“Sitting here as one of the top riders in the world, the talent is stacked in every single category and the level of competition is incredible and it’s great to have seen the sport grow over the years as well.”
With the support of UK Sport and The National Lottery, Van Gass is one of 200 riders selected to represent the Great Britain Cycling Team at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships – the squads biggest-ever delegation to a major event.
August’s event is the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships, bringing together 13 world championship events in 11 days in Glasgow and across Scotland, with limited tickets still on sale for some events.
2023 marks a decade since Van Gass made his World Championships debut.
This year’s will be the first of its kind, bringing together 13 UCI Cycling World Championships under one banner, including para and able-bodied events, in the biggest cycling event of all time.
For Van Gass, promoting the growth of his discipline is paramount, but he also thrives on the competitive nature of racing against his teammates, including four-time reigning world champion Fin Graham.
“We’ve always had a really great understanding between myself and him,” said Van Gass, speaking ahead of British Cycling clubs hosting more than 300 free events to give young people a taste of riding and racing throughout this summer.
“We are really good friends and we push each other and that’s a healthy push as well, it’s healthy for the sport too.
“You can’t really sit still and think you’re number one and this is it now, there’s always someone pushing you, looking for your spot at that top level.
“Between us we always support each other, and I look forward to racing against him.
“The event itself and what it stands for and the inaugural combination of both Para and able-bodied athletes, I’m very much looking forward to that, it’s amazing to see how it’s going to work.
“It’s a very good thing for us as Para athletes and for Para sport in general to show the world the very high level that we race at in competition.”
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