AS Pete Kibble prepares to make his Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast, the man who currently holds the road race title is likely to have a major part to play in the next stage of the Wiltshire cyclist’s highly promising young career.

The 19-year-old, from the hamlet of New Zealand, near Calne, is the youngest member of Team Wales’ six-strong squad for the discipline which saw a victory for Geraint Thomas last time around in Glasgow.

Thomas’ triumph was part of a record haul of five medals for the nation and hopes are high that it can be matched by the 2018 squad.

Kibble’s selection in January came on the back of a testing period as a member of the Zappi Racing Team, with whom he cut his ties after a virus curtailed his season. After the Games, he will compete closer to home more often and feels the move will help him towards his goal of joining a professional outfit in the near future.

“I’ll be racing for a Welsh Development U23 team, which will more than likely have Geraint Thomas’ name linked to it,” said Kibble. “We’ll be predominantly racing in the UK, with some races on the continent too.

“It will be good to get some experience as part of that team. It’s more of a stepping-stone that will hopefully help its riders move onto something bigger in a couple of years’ time.”

Although a year spent contesting UCI (Union Cycliste International) U23 road racing events a part of a team run by former Giro d’Italia competitor Flavio Zappi did not run as smoothly as planned, Kibble is confident the experience will stand him in good stead when he races among the elite in Australia.

“It was a year of hard knocks,” Kibble reflected. “It was tough physically and mentally but hopefully it will make me stronger in the long run.

“It wasn’t the most ideal season in a lot of ways and was a bit of a shock to the system. It is very old-school in Italy and the coaches take a different approach. The racing is so hard and is of a high quality but it’s not as squeaky-clean as it is in other parts of the world.

“But while it was tough it definitely prepared me for where I hope to be a few years down the line.”

Kibble now lives Vale of Glamorgan, giving him easier access to the gym at National Sports Centre in Cardiff and Wales National Velodrome in Newport, but still receives many useful pointers from his dad Phil, who himself represented Wales in the triathlon at the Auckland 1990 Commonwealths.

“It’s nice to keep it in the family,” added Kibble. “He’s been there and done it and has always been supportive. He knows what sport is like at this level and understands it is not easy.”

Having retired from his role as a specialist firearms officer with the police, Phil now runs a triathlon and cycling coaching business on the back of a successful sporting career that saw him crowned British Combined Services, Army and Welsh champion in the former discipline, while helping GB win bronze at the 1992 World Championships.

“I’ve coached Pete since he was 10, although I’ve handed him over to Team Wales and ex-pro Rob Partridge now,” said Phil. “They are looking after him well but he still comes back to me for advice now and again.

“Bikes were always his passion so we channelled everything into that. He did well and it got him into the Welsh system and getting picked for the Commonwealth Games follows on from that. He’s at the development stage and hopefully the Welsh team he’s riding for this year will give him the chance to progress towards a pro contact.

“The Commonwealth Games will be a great experience for him. He’s done a lot already for someone of his age.”

Pete will be cheered on by both of his parents on the Gold Coast, and mum Carol was delighted to see her son’s hard work rewarded with a call-up in January.

“Cycling at the top level takes a lot of commitment because if you need to go out for a long ride and the wind is blowing the rain sideways then you just have to go out and do it,” said Carol.

“People have asked me what Pete does for a living but the reality is it’s more than a full-time job already.

“You don’t get these opportunities very often and we’re very much looking forward to the Commonwealths. The next Games are in Birmingham so we’re lucky to have the chance to go to the Gold Coast. His godfather, Hywel, has just moved to Brisbane too, so it was just meant to be.”