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Riders from Sarah Storey’s Academy to race their mentor at the National Closed Circuit Championships

Joseph Delves
14 Oct 2019

Young racers will line up beside their team principal this Sunday

Founded earlier this year, the Skoda DSI Cycling Academy gave five young riders the chance to develop their skills under the mentorship of multiple Olympic and World Champion Dame Sarah Storey. Potentially acting as a feeder for Storey’s eponymous racing team, this weekend will see its pupils lining up against their teacher at the National Closed Circuit Time-Trial Championships in Thruxton this Sunday, 20th October.

Rebecca Richards (21), Jazz Jones (23), Meredith Gilbert (21) and Morgan Newberry (20) will be competing directly against their team principal.

With all riders entered in both individual and team time trial events, Megan Dickerson (23) will also join Storey, along with Yorkshire World Championship Junior team rider Caitlin Peters and National Champion Zoe Backstedt to form a single squad in the team event.

Organised by the RTTC (Road Time Trial Council), the Closed Circuit Championships will host both an individual and a four-up Team Time Trial at the Thruxton Motor Racing Circuit in Hampshire.

Racing against the clock rather than a massed field of riders, both events will cover five laps of the 19km circuit.

The academy system

Open to female cyclists aged for 17 to 25-years-old, the Skoda DSI Cycling Academy was established in May this year to provide amateur cyclists with a pathway to the elite level. When first launched over 400 riders applied to join the academy, with a final five selected following trials at London’s Lee Valley Velo Park in June.

Taking the qualifying riders under her tutelage, Storey has since been providing them with advice on everything from nutrition to how to deal with the media.

'Time trialling is my speciality so it will be incredible to ride alongside Team Storey and Dame Sarah herself,' explained racer Megan Dickerson.

'I’m looking to impress; I’ll push myself from the start, give it everything I’ve got and hopefully we’ll get a good result.'

Having undertaken training rides alongside their professional peers ahead of a British National Road Race Championships, for some this will be their highest-profile time trial of the season.

Rebecca Richards commented: 'I’ve only previously competed in local time trials in Newark, so Thruxton will be my first national event. I can feel the pressure, however, I feel confident going into the time trial having recently completed some warm weather training in Spain and I hope to finish this season on a high.'

More details about the academy and its riders can be found here: skoda.co.uk/cycling-academy

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