The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy has opened its yearly application process, seeking three new female riders to join its ranks. Under the tutorship of Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful Paralympian, the Academy offers a year-long, inclusive programme for cyclists, aged between 18-24, maximising their potential within the sport.
“I’m delighted to be able to recruit three new riders to the ŠKODA Academy for this the fourth year since its inception,” said Storey. “The now annual programme will enable ambitious young women to further develop their skills both on and off the bike via a series of events.”
The application process begins with an online form in which prospective riders must provide details about their cycling experience, training schedules and cycling ambitions. A shortlist will then be drawn up, and, in mid-March, invited to a testing day at the Lee Valley VeloPark on Monday, March 28.
Following a series of tests, including a peak power test, a three-minute maximal test, and a 12-minute steady state challenge, as well as an assessment of the riders’ bike handling skills, Storey will add those who performed best to the Academy.
Storey urged anyone who fits the criteria to apply; “whether you are already racing at a regional or national level or have just taken up cycling, this is a fantastic opportunity to join a unique and inspiring programme, where you not only get to travel and witness some of the world’s best riders in action, but you will also learn more about how to maximise your opportunities alongside school, university, and other responsibilities in life.”
Those successful in their application will gain access to a programme of bespoke advice on racing, training and careers designed to complement each rider’s existing club or team activity. Reflecting the multidimensional expectations now placed on cyclists, social media and media training, as well as a sports psychology programme are also provided by the Academy. Ride experiences, the centrepiece of the programme, will take place at the Women’s Tour, the Tour de France and Tour of Britain.
The three new riders will make up one half of the Academy’s total cohort in 2022, joining existing riders, Maddi Aldam-Gates, Gwyneth Parry and Olivia French, who were selected for the programme last year.
For these three young cyclists, the Academy has been essential to their development. “I cannot emphasise enough how important the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy has been in developing my performance on the bike,” French said.
“Behind the scenes ride experiences at some of the biggest events alongside learning from Dame Sarah Storey, a cycling legend, have been invaluable for me. If you’re a young female cyclist with a passion for the sport, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you try out. Apply now!”
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Issy Ronald has just graduated from the London School of Economics where she studied for an undergraduate and masters degree in History and International Relations. Since doing an internship at Procycling magazine, she has written reports for races like the Tour of Britain, Bretagne Classic and World Championships, as well as news items, recaps of the general classification at the Grand Tours and some features for Cyclingnews. Away from cycling, she enjoys reading, attempting to bake, going to the theatre and watching a probably unhealthy amount of live sport.