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Teenage cyclist aims for Paralympic Games in Rio

A teenager from Cambridge is chasing his dream of becoming a Paralympic cyclist, and could even represent Team GB at the Paralympics in Rio next year.

Louis Rolfe has only just turned 18, but he has already represented Great Britain at the World Para-cycling Championships and has broken a Junior World Record.

Louis was born 10 weeks prematurely with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, or 'water on the brain'. As a result he has muscle weakness on his right hand side.

Louis Rolfe training in Cambridgeshire. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Growing up, it made cycling difficult but he enjoyed it as a hobby until the summer of 2012. Then, inspired by the London Olympics and Paralympics, he decided to pursue his goal of becoming a professional cyclist.

He was talent spotted by Team GB at an event in Guildford, and was recruited onto their Para-cycling Development Team.

Louis said: "(When) I was selected for the GB cycling team development squad it was like, wow, I can actually do this now and I don't know where it could go from here... When you are racing, in Italy, in warm weather representing your country it's an indescribable feeling."

Louis competes in the C2 class, riding time trial, pursuit and team sprint events. He has already broken British, and World Junior records and in March he competed at the Para-cycling Track World Championships. Then aged just 17, he was the youngest member of Team GB's 14-rider squad.

Lynsey Rolfe, Louis's mum, said: "The first time we travelled overseas to see him represent GB, I still can't really talk about it. It's an incredible feeling, and to see him achieve his potential having worked so hard is just such a reward. We are incredibly proud of him."

Louis usually trains 5 or 6 times a week, with the content of sessions varying according to his goals - one day it might be muscle building, another day speed.

He follows a detailed training regime, with the hope of representing Team GB at the Paralympics in Brazil next year. He says he is keeping a cool head about Rio, and is not putting too much pressure on himself to make the squad.

Now just 18-years-old, he would still be a young athlete for the 2020 Paralympics so that could also be a longer term goal.

Louis said: "If I do go to the next Paralympics that would be great but in the meantime I'm just going to do what I'm doing at the moment and see where that gets me.

"As of now, the way that I'm going at the moment suggest that I might be in with a chance. I'm aiming to Rio as it get's closer but for now I'm just going to stick to what my coaches say and see where that gets me."

Click below for the full interview with Louis Rolfe