HE'S excited and he's nervous, but when David Nicholas attempts to win the third Paralympics Games gold medal of his career on Thursday he knows Bathurst will be behind him.
While Nicholas is a Rockhampton native, since the star para-cyclist moved to Bathurst four years ago and continued to show why he's one of the world's best, the community has treated him like one of their own.
"It's been amazing the support I've received since moving here in 2018," he said.
"Everyone has been super nice and welcoming, I feel like Bathurst is right behind me."
Nicholas, the man who has been dubbed 'Diesel Dave', will contest three races at the Tokyo Paralympics in his C3 class. The first of those will be the 3,000 metres individual pursuit.
It's an event in which Nicholas won gold at Rio in 2016 after placing fourth in his Games debut at London in 2012. He also holds the current Paralympic record for the event - a 3:32.336.
Naturally Nicholas, who is one of seven cyclists listed to start, will be eager to claim gold in the event for which he is also a four-time defending world champion.
While the lack of competition in the build up due to COVID-19 has made it hard to gauge form, after attending a pre-Games training camp Nicholas feels well prepared.
"I was feeling pretty good at home, but I had no idea what my form would be on track after being off it for so long. After week on the track I was more confident my preparation was on the right path," he said.
"I definitely want to defend my title in the individual pursuit, but if I go out put on a great performance I'll be happy."
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While Nicholas and his fellow cyclists missed out on Tuesday night's opening ceremony to prepare for their events and are in a hotel near the Izu Velodrome rather than being in the athlete's village, the atmosphere is still good.
"It is different not being in the village which is different from my last two Games, but the hotel is very cool and very traditional," Nicholas said.
"We are lucky that Paralympics Australia has made feel like it is part of the village with flags, pictures etcetera."
The success of the Australian Olympic team in Tokyo has also added to the excitement for the Australian Paralympic team which features 179 athletes.
"Yeah definitely watching the Olympics made me more excited, and a little bit nervous too. Our team has been very successful over the past few years, so we are hopeful to bring home some more medals this Games," Nicholas said.
Qualifying for the men's C3 individual pursuit start at 1.04pm AEST with the finals to start at 4.52pm.
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