The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy is a ground-breaking initiative that has given five talented young riders the chance to develop their skills under the mentorship of Dame Sarah Storey.
From discovering they’d earned their place to competing in prestigious races across the world, 2019 was a huge year for the team. Check out everything they got up to in the video below.
After applications closed, a testing day was held amongst shortlisted women. After a series of demanding trials, five talented cyclists were chosen to form the Academy.
Having started cycling at uni in 2014 I am now settling down into my second road race season and attempting the National RR Series. My best results this season include a top 20 in a National Series race and winning a 2/3/4 race. At the moment I almost exclusively ride road, but also race the local week night crits with the men for fun. I ride a stealthy black Canyon Ultimate SLX 9.0, and a Felt in the Winter. My favourite place to ride my bike is in the Alps, particularly around Morzine.
I first began riding during my first year of uni in 2015, racing as part of the uni club from 2016, and more recently with my local club. I have focused on time trialling for the 2019 season, finishing 16th in the BC National TT Championships and 5th at the CTT National 10-mile TT. Next year I aim to improve my placing in both time trial events and also take part in the national road series. My race bike is a sparkly black Specialized Tarmac SL5, and my TT bike a 20 year old steel frame Argos cycles, built in my home city of Bristol. The French Alps are without a doubt my favourite place to ride, although I do love a local lane or two.
I’m a female C5 paracyclist venturing into racing bikes. I currently study Nutrition and live in Sheffield with the Peak District on my doorstep, which is great for training. Cycling has always been a massive part of my life, it is an escape from the world we live in where you step out of the front door and pedal off everything that is going on, for me cycling has brought me many friends and experiences and I’m so thankful to my Dad for being the person who gave me a bike to ride and escape on. I feel passionate about getting people out on any kind of bike, whether fast or slow, and letting them experience the sanity it brings to you.
I started cycling my commute in 2018 and rode the 15 miles journey each way nearly every day for a year. In May 2019 I got my first road bike (an Orro Gold STC 8000) and absolutely loved how much faster, smoother and stiffer the bike felt compared to my commuter. I've only started recently so haven't raced much other than a couple of crits, but I’m looking forward to the full season next year! My best cycling experience has still got to be riding up Ditchling Beacon in the mornings to work when the roads are quiet. Orro bikes are designed nearby so it always feels even better and attempting to beat my Dad's Strava time up there is extra motivation!
I started cycling a few years ago, back when I was a teenager, and have become absolutely obsessed with it: you can nearly always find me training, racing or talking about my road bike! I’m currently working in a specialised bike shop, fitting in training rides and races whenever I can. My ambition is to become a professional road racer and to live, train and race in Europe.
Once chosen, the five academy riders had their first meeting with mentor Dame Sarah Storey. With 14 Paralympic gold medals, 36 World Championship gold medals and 76 World Records to her name, Sarah is one of Britain’s most successful athletes.
For the fifth year in a row the Donnons des Elles au Velos (J-1) amateur cycling team rode every stage of the Tour de France a day ahead of the men to promote equality in cycling. This year, the Academy riders joined them for stage four of the ride, which took them 133 miles from Reims to Nancy.
Each year non-professional riders are invited to take on the L’Etape Du Tour, the Tour de France’s official sportive. The Academy riders joined this year’s edition that followed the same course as stage 20 of the Tour, arguably the most demanding of the entire Tour route. The 135km cycle took riders across imposing mountains before finishing with the infamous 37km climb up to Val Thorens.
The Academy riders will be tested even further in the coming months as they push themselves to the limit in hopes of making the cut and joining Storey Racing.
On Saturday 21st September the UCI World Championships came to Yorkshire. It was the first time in 37 years that the event had come to the UK, and Academy rider Morgan Newberry was there to take part alongside Sarah Storey. Morgan finished an impressive third, and the rest of the Academy were there to provide logistical support. Morgan was able to show her talent to world thanks to the DSI Cycling Academy.
These time trials, which are held on Sunday 20th October, will be the first time the Academy riders will compete as a team. All of their training is building to this moment, as this is the final test they will face. One Academy rider will compete at the event as part of Storey Racing.
Competed in her first multi-stage race as part of Storey Racing. She was able to support her leading team mate Elynor Backstedt to an impressive 5th place and achieve 17th place overall for herself. An outstanding result in her first competitive team event.