A FORMER champion cyclist who nearly lost his life in a battle with kidney failure is gearing up for an elite competition.

Johnstone man Stevie Blom, 40, was struck down by kidney failure while at a training camp in Spain and endured an agonising wait for a replacement organ.

His suffering was so bad and the days so dark that he admits he had thoughts about taking his own life.

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Thankfully, the dark days are over and Stevie has been back in the saddle for nearly two years.

He also used his experiences to create Scotland’s only kidney dialysis support charity.

Now he is set to compete at the 2019 World Transplant Games, which take place in August and will see him flying the flag for the country of his birth.

Born in the Netherlands, Stevie moved to Scotland in 1987 and says competing under the Dutch flag will be a proud moment for him and dad Willem.

Stevie told The Gazette: “When he heard that I was going to be cycling for Holland, he was stunned.

“He’s a bit old-school, so didn’t really reveal exactly what he was thinking or how he feels but I could tell he was over the moon.”

Stevie will compete in both the individual and team trial events and is set to head to Valkenburg, in the Dutch province of Limburg, for a gruelling training schedule with his new team-mates.

It won’t be the first time Stevie has tested himself at elite level since receiving his new kidney in 2016.

The Gazette:

Stevie has gone on to create his own transplant charity, Return to Life 

The following year, he won bronze at the British Transplant Games.

However, Stevie insists the Dutch test will be far harder than the one he experienced while part of the British team.

He added: “They are the current world champions, so what I need to do is get myself in shape and into the ideal condition ahead of the games.

“That isn’t easy when you are recovering from a kidney transplant and it can all be extremely hard.

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“Unlike at the British, people are not kept apart depending on their condition, meaning you can really face anyone, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to meeting the rest of the team.”

More information about Stevie’s transplant charity, called Return to Life, is available on Facebook.