Yorkshire’s fine history of producing world-class cyclists looks set to continue with the news that five youngsters from the county have been accepted onto British Cycling’s Olympic Development Apprentice Programme.
The five riders – Harry Hardcastle aged 15 from Roberttown, brothers Jamie Ridehalgh, 15, and Alex Ridehalgh, 14, from Bradley near Keighley, Brad Dransfield, 15, from Penistone and Tom Humphrey, 15, also from Penistone – all ride for the Kirklees Cycling Academy.
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The ODA programme accepted fewer than 50 youngsters from across the country and is part of BC’s new performance pathway to becoming an Olympic cyclist, with the likes of London 2012 medallists Ed Clancy and Lizzie Armitstead already flying the flag for the county.
KCA co-founder Darren Stringer said: “No other club in the UK has had this many riders accepted onto the programme, so to have five selected in one year is a phenomenal achievement both for the club and for Yorkshire.
“The KCA is justifiably proud of this massive success, within four and a half years of the club being established, and recognises the commitment, enthusiasm, hard work and dedication demonstrated by the riders, their families, club volunteers and sponsors in reaching this pivotal moment in the club’s history.”
The KCA focus solely on the development of riders aged 6-18 and the selection of these five riders means the club have exceeded the goals the founders set out to achieve.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, added: “This is a major achievement and I am delighted for these young riders – they should be immensely proud of themselves, as we are of them. We hoped Yorkshire’s Grand Départ would inspire people and we’re already seeing this here. Yorkshire is a name now synonymous with world cycling and we’re all extremely excited to see what the future holds for these five talented Yorkshire lads.”
The 100-day Yorkshire Festival, organised by Welcome to Yorkshire, generated almost £10m for the county's economy.
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