The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy, and its principal Dame Sarah Storey, have selected three female riders to join its ranks. The Academy offers a year-long programme for cyclists, aged between 18-24, providing a clear direction within the sport so that they can maximise their potential.
Alex Morrice, Katie-Ann Elliston and Maia Forde were each selected following a testing day at Lee Valley VeloPark last month.
“Congratulations to all the riders that took part in the testing day but ultimately three riders stood out for me,” said Storey, “and I’m excited to be working closely with Maia, Alex and Katie-Ann this year through the Academy programme.”
The tests consisted of a six-second peak power test, a three-minute maximal test and a 12-minute aerobic test as well as two laps on the outdoor track to assess the riders’ bike handling skills.
22-year-old Morrice, from Guildford, Surrey is a Physics and Chemistry student at the University of Bath.
“Alex posted four outstanding test results which far exceeded my expectations for someone who has been cycling for less than a year,” said Storey. “Her focus and drive were evident from the moment she walked into the testing day.”
Like Morrice, Forde has only been cycling for a short period of time. The 23-year-old from Tooting, London is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner and a member of the Black Cyclists Network.
“Maia was a joy to meet and test at the event at Lee Valley and although she had only been cycling since last summer it is clear she’s been working hard to bring herself up to speed on everything to do with the sport,” Storey said.
“Her tests were impressive and the combination of her determination and natural talent was very exciting to watch. I am really looking forward to supporting Maia and helping her further develop her skills both on and off the bike.”
19-year-old Elliston, meanwhile, is from Southend-On-Sea, Essex, a Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation student at the University of Derby, and a member of Southend Wheelers.
“Katie-Ann was first tested in 2021 and returned to re-apply this year,” Storey said. “Her tests significantly improved, and I was incredibly impressed by how she had applied the recommendations made to her last summer. The willingness to learn, improve and progress further radiated from her in every test, and I can’t wait to support her over the coming months.”
The three new riders join three existing Academy riders, Maddi Aldam-Gates, Gwyneth Parry and Olivia French, who were selected for the programme last year.
These six riders will receive bespoke advice on racing, training and careers designed to complement their 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.
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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.