Rik Waddon out to emulate hero Wiggins

Rik Waddon out to emulate hero Wiggins

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Rik Waddon has taken inspiration from the exploits of Bradley Wiggins ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 35-year-old lives in Chorley, Lancashire, near Wiggins, who became the first British winner of the Tour de France in July before claiming Olympic time-trial gold at Hampton Court on August 1.

Waddon's Mohican haircut may not catch on like Wiggins' sideburns, but he hopes to emulate, at least in part, his successful summer.

Waddon told Press Association Sport: "Bradley's one of my heroes, like Chris Boardman was in the 90s. For him to come away with a Tour de France win and then go straight into the Olympics and get the gold it's like 'wow, I'll have a bit of that'."

"We've carried out the same processes as the Olympic guys over the last four years, but obviously you can't control what any other nation does."

Rik Waddon

Wiggins' was the first of eight Olympic gold medals for Britain's cyclists, equalling their Beijing mark. Britain's Paralympic team won 17 cycling gold medals out of 44 events in 2008 and the 19-rider squad are expected to challenge the tally in London.

"There's nothing to say that we can't do the same," Waddon added. "We've carried out the same processes as the Olympic guys over the last four years, but obviously you can't control what any other nation does."

Waddon, who has cerebral palsy, is set to compete in the C1-3 one-kilometre time-trial, which is a factored competition due to a mixture of levels of impairment.

Waddon, who won silver behind team-mate Darren Kenny in the event in Beijing, is a C3 rider, so must beat the calculators as well as his rivals to prevail. C1 riders have a greater degree of impairment so their times are factored the most.

He said: "There's a lot of work to do there against a factoring system. I could end up winning, I could end up coming ninth."

On Sunday's final day of track competition, Waddon is set to ride in the team sprint with Kenny and Jon-Allan Butterworth, when Britain will be seeking to defend their Paralympic title having lost the World Championships title to China in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Waddon said: "The main event is the team sprint on Sunday. That's what I've been employed to do, that's what we've been working at all year since the guys were overturned by the Chinese in LA at the track worlds in February.

"We dominated that event for seven years, we want it back in London."

After competing in the velodrome, Waddon will visit the Aquatics Centre where his wife, swimmer Natalie Jones, is set to be in action. "She's in great shape from what I've seen and mentally she's in the right place," Waddon said.

Like the Olympic cycling team, Britain's Paralympians completed final preparations at the Newport Velodrome and the omens are good.

Chris Furber, lead coach of British Cycling's para-cycling team, told Press Association Sport: "We've had a strong camp. I always mark in my book with a green highlighter if there's a PB (personal best) and there was a lot of green highlighter in there.

"Fingers crossed it was good and hopefully they will all come up well for competition."

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