She has had to juggle motherhood with cycling but will be as ready as anybody when the track cycling gets underway at the Izu Velodrome on Wednesday.
The British racer has four Olympic gold medals in the sport – more than any other female track cyclist – and aims for a third consecutive C5 3000m individual pursuit title. The 43-year-old also has five gold medals in each of road cycling and swimming to her name.
She will split her time between the track and road as she comes into her eighth Paralympic Games. Britain’s most successful Paralympian will be looking to defend her C5 individual pursuit title from Rio 2016.
A lot has changed since Tristan Bangma of Netherland won the B 1000m time trial as an 18-year-old teenager in Brazil five years ago.
Now, at 23, he has shed 13 kilograms of muscle, transitioning from a pure sprinter to an endurance racer as he aims for medals in the B 4000m individual pursuit as well as the road cycling time trial and road race at Tokyo 2020.
“I like it very much, it’s totally different to Rio,” Bangma told the Olympic Information Service. “I was in Rio only for that one minute, now there are three races that are important.”
Switching from an explosive power-based discipline to one where endurance is key has meant adapting to a new diet, as well as a different approach to training and racing.
“When I was a sprinter the focus was much more on protein,” Bangma said. “Now bread and pasta is the most important. My legs in Rio were like ‘wow’ but now they’re more like a normal cyclist.”
While cycling officially became a Paralympic sport in New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984, the track discipline did not feature until Atlanta 1996.
At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the discipline will take place from 25-28 August 2021 at Izu Velodrome, which is situated 120km from Tokyo.
It will include 17 gold medals across three events including time trials, individual pursuit and the team sprint with nine men’s, seven women’s and one mixed event. Track events are divided into two classes; C class, two-wheeled cycle and B class, tandem bicycles.
At Tokyo 2020, Japan’s Kimura Kazuhei (Men’s B class) along with pilot Kurabayashi Takuto will have the backing of the host nation. He’s already been able to test out the Paralympic venue at the National Championships late last year.
The first medal of the Paralympic Games will be awarded on 25 August in the Women’s C1-3 3,000m individual pursuit.
With seven consecutive C4 4000m individual pursuit world titles to his name, Paralympic champion of Slovakia has trained in a wide range of outdoor sports to try to get even faster as he aims to defend his title at Tokyo 2020.
“I’ve been rock climbing, ice climbing, ski touring, downhill skiing, mountain biking, enduro, quite a lot of horse riding, motorbiking – pretty much everything where I could avoid riding a bike,” the 34-year-old lower-leg amputee said.
“I just found out that when you do more sports and you do it on a higher level, they start to feed off each other. It’s like with languages – the more you know, the easier it is to improve them.
“You develop different muscles, you develop your health and your head in a different way and when you have the time to do the track cycling you actually go much faster.”
China’s Li Zhangyu has two titles to defend at Tokyo 2020, having won the men’s C1-3 1000m time trial and the C1 3000m individual pursuit at Rio 2016.
He will be challenged in both events by swimming veteran Ricardo Ten Argiles of Spain, who made his Paralympic debut at Atlanta 1996. The 46-year-old has swapped swimming for cycling and comes to Japan as a serious medal candidate with the 2018 and 2019 C1 3000m world titles to his name.