Cyclist Pete hopes to pilot his way to Paralympic Games glory

Pete Mitchell with partner Neil Fachie
Pete Mitchell with partner Neil Fachie
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Upper Beeding cyclist Pete Mitchell is hopeful he can collect a gold medal in the Rio Paralympic Games next month.

Mitchell will pilot current defending men’s 1k time trial champion Neil Fachie, who competes in events for individuals with visual impairment.

Mitchell, 26, attempted to make Team GB’s Olympic squad in London but failed to make that cut. Following his failure to make it at London 2012, Mitchell weighed up his options and then made the step to pilot Fachie.

Over a successful four-year cycle, Mitchell has piloted Fachie with the pair current world champions and fastest time holders in this particular event.

With many seeing the British duo as favourites, the Upper Beeding rider believes they can cope with the pressure.

He said: “It’s something that I’m really looking forward to. It’s a great opportunity to be part of Team GB at a Paralympic Games.

“Prior to the previous Olympics, I was just on the fringes of the team but couldn’t quite break in, this opportunity came and it’s been a fantastic four years with Neil.

“We are both hoping to do well in the games and hopefully Neil will be able to defend his Paralympic title.”

Preparations began for Mitchell when he travelled to Newport, Wales, for a 12-day training camp last Wednesday.

Team GB’s Paralympic cycling contingent then travel out to Rio on August 31, with Mitchell admitting anticipation is building now.

He added: “I’ve been watching our successes on the track in the Olympics and just want to be out there now.

“Myself and Neil have got a 12-day training camp so the hard work starts, with both of us wanting that Paralympic crown.”

As well as their participation in the men’s 1km time trial event, Mitchell will pilot Fachie in the male road race.

Mitchell admits little work has gone into that and their focus is firmly on a track title.

He said: “We’re also entered in the road race but that is just a bonus event for us really. We’ve virtually done no training for it and, as sprinters, it’s tricky to make the transition to road.

“It will just give us a chance to be part of another event at a Paralympic Games.”

Team GB’s Paralympic squad will have more than 300 athletes involved in various competitions at the Games.

Mitchell and Fachie will base themselves in Rio’s Olympic Village.

Having never tasted any Games competition before, staying with other athletes from differeing sports is exciting for Mitchell.

He said: “I’m going to be based in the Olympic Village for the duration.

“It’s a massive complex that can house over 15,000 people and I think the canteen can seat around 8,000 at a time.

“It’s going to be a different but incredible experience for both myself and Neil.

“I think up until we’ve competed, I’m just going to focus on our events but after then I’ll be able to take in more of the Games and get a real feel for it.”

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