Great Britain’s Jody Cundy hopes that the Newport Para-cycling International from 30 January - 1 February will allow him to lay down a marker ahead of the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in March, after a winter training season blighted by illness.
The current C4 kilometre time trial world champion and record holder suffered an infection of the epiglottis in November, resulting in a week of hospitalisation and a long road back to full fitness.
“I was completely wiped out,” said the 36-year-old from Cambridgeshire.
"I lost five kilos in six days, basically lost muscle mass around my legs and everything. It really quickly disappeared so ever since then we've been playing catch-up to where I need to be.”
Nine-time para-cycling world champion Cundy began 2015 with a productive training camp in Mallorca but will still be in full-scale training mode when he takes to the track in Newport.
“I'm getting to the point where I want to be but at Newport I'm definitely going to train through on the way to Apeldoorn and the world championships at the end of March”, admitted Cundy, who like many in his team, is grateful of the chance of a setting a competitive benchmark before heading to the Netherlands to defend the title he won in Mexico a year before.
"Newport is a bit of a hit-out to see where we're at, see what needs tweaking but it’s predominantly a train-through meeting so training pretty hard core all the way up to it,” Cundy added. “No easing off the gas. Put some race wheels in and stuff knock out a kilo, possibly team sprint.”
An inauspicious start to the year has, by his own admission, given the Paralympic gold medallist a few early season jitters but Cundy remains optimistic, viewing Newport as a chance to not only see lay down a marker but allay any doubts he has in his current form.
"I think I'm nervous for this season,” he said. “Usually you go in there and you're on 100 percent, you know what's going on, you know where you are in training, you know you're hitting the targets.
“When you're playing catch-up and you've got to a point where you're pretty low in abilities, endurance, strength and everything and having to rebuild all those, not knowing where you're at is quite nerve-wracking.
“So it would be nice just to see where I am at Newport and to either put any worries that I have aside or go 'Oh God, we really need to focus on that.’”