THE FAMILY of Abergavenny cycling star Becky James have spoken of their “excitement” ahead of the Rio Olympics next week.

Abergavenny-born James, 24, will be cheered on by her parents David and Christine, when they jet to Rio next Friday. It will be the first time the parents have travelled outside Europe to see her compete.

As a two-time world gold medallist in 2013, James will make her games bow after previously missing out on the London 2012 Team GB squad due to an 18-month spell of injury and illness.

Her parents - rural housing enabler David, 53, and personal banker Christine, 54 - have credited Becky’s drive and determination to succeed from her days as a student at King Henry VIII Comprehensive in Abergavenny, where she was first scouted by Welsh Cycling.

Speaking about her upcoming Rio appearance, her dad said the family have “tried not to think about it”.

“This is the first time we have not been watching her at home and the excitement is starting to build, plus the apprehension of flying long distance," he said.

“I will just be proud of her however she does, and I’m just thinking she will be in the Olympics, the biggest stage she can compete in.”

Her mum said she will be watching her star daughter compete “through her fingers”.

Speaking about the cycling star's injury and previous cancer scare, she said: “She is really resilient but quite independent.

“It was getting hard for us when she couldn’t walk down the stairs without her knee hurting and I don’t think she thought she would make it back to the Olympics.”

The family also gave thanks to Abergavenny Town Council, Abergavenny Road Club and Welsh Cycling for their support.

Boyfriend and Wales rugby ace George North will also visit Rio for the competition, alongside James' siblings, 18-year-old Ffion and 16-year-old Megan - themselves aspiring cyclists.

In the lead up to the Rio games, James and her fellow Team GB riders - including Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Laura Trott - have been using the facilities at Newport’s Velodrome in preparation.

Mr James added: “I think it is the same for any parent of an athlete at the highest level. The bigger the competition. The higher the pressure.

“I just want Becky to enjoy it and we’re incredibly proud that she has got back to riding her bike let alone the Olympics.”

James will compete on Saturday August 13, in the Keirin, and then the sprint on Sunday August 14.