Dame Sarah Storey is on the hunt for two new riders looking for a path to the elite level.
Storey, a British Paralympic gold medalist, and her team Skoda DSI Cycling Academy have opened applications to find new talents aged between 17-22 to join the women's development squad this year.
The Skoda DSI programme is a “university-style” opportunity that lets riders experience the life of a pro, helping them with their performance, nutrition and media profile to help young athletes become professional cyclists.
Applications to join Storey’s team are open now and the deadline is Friday, March 5, with a testing day set to be held on Monday, March 29 at Lee Valley VeloPark in London.
Riders can apply here (opens in new tab) by providing their cycling experience, training schedule and answering questions on their cycling ambitions.
Dame Sarah Storey said: “The Skoda Academy is a unique opportunity to develop as a young rider in a way that is rarely available to the peloton. From race opportunity and non-race events, there is a broad range of activity throughout the year to inspire and challenge a rider to find their next level. The camaraderie of being part of a small women’s focused setup and the links in with the senior and experienced riders of the Storey Racing team and their support staff, make the Skoda Academy a place to develop and excel.
“Riders will receive regular reviews and will need to be dedicated to their training programme to graduate on to the next year of the programme, whether that’s a place on the Storey Racing roster, a place on a UCI Women’s WorldTour team or another year as part of the Academy. This university-style programme also delivers an educational aspect through the social media and promotion strands. Being small in size, the Skoda Academy riders are encouraged to develop strengths and weaknesses in a supportive and nurturing environment.”
The two new riders will joined the four existing academy athletes, Megan Dickerson, Meredith Gilbert, Morgan Newberry, and Rebecca Richards, who all joined in 2019 and are now in their final year of academy training before graduation, which hopefully will see them join pro teams at the end of 2021.
Rebecca Richards said: “Applying for the Skoda Cycling Academy is the best decision I have ever made. I’ve learnt so much from working with Dame Sarah and the Storey Racing team that my cycling is now at whole new level compared to when I joined in 2019.
“Without the Academy I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to compete in a variety of rides and races such as the time trials at the National Closed Circuit Championships, L’Etape du Tour and the inaugural Skoda V-Women’s Tour.
“If you are a female cyclist looking to see how far you can go in the sport, then I would thoroughly recommend that you apply for the academy. Good luck!”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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