By Giuseppe Napoli and INAS
France’s Leo Collet is targeting an International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS) Global Games triple in just over a month’s time, hoping to add individual road cycling crowns to his team world title in Brisbane, Australia.
In 2018, Collet was one half of a winning French duo – alongside Jeremy Pereira – that claimed the men’s team time trial gold at home in Paris, France.
However Collet’s performance was not matched in the individual events. A seventh and 13th place finish in the time trial and road race, respectively, left him well away from the podium. Now Collet has had more than one year to change his fortunes.
“The beginning of last year was somewhat catastrophic, but I kept improving and the team time trial competition was way better,” he said. “I think I could have done better if I had trained better. Now I want to win three medals in the three races, after all my goal is to do my best all the times”.
The French team has been preparing for the INAS Global Games with an intense training camp, with extra benefits.
“The training for cycling is quite hard. We need to wake up quite early and I personally watch cycling videos to keep my motivation high. I must say that recovery is the best part of this all: we make massages, balneotherapy and sprint exercises.”
Despite being fairly new to cycling at the highest levels Collet, who started the sport when he was 12, already has a collection of good and bad memories: “I remember my first race ever, it was so bad. Nevertheless, I insisted and year after year I have improved a lot. My first cap in the French team in Paris, and the world champions title in the team time trial with Jeremy, were definitively the highlights of my career.”
The 2019 INAS Global Games are expected to attract nearly 1,000 athletes who will compete in 10 sports between 12-19 October.
Countries from around the world will compete, gathered by their respective national INAS members.
“The Fédération française du Sport adapté is like a second family for me,” Collet said. “I am looking forward to the competitions in Brisbane. In general, I have a good relationship with my colleagues and there is a nice atmosphere in these events. I am truly happy to be part of this.”