Four female riders from the ŠKODA UK DSI Cycling Academy are celebrating graduation to cycling race teams, the next step in their careers on two wheels.
Under the tutelage of Dame Sarah Storey, Academy Principal and Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian the four riders graduating in 2021 are: Morgan Newberry, Rebecca Richards, Megan Dickerson and Lucy Ellmore.
During their time at the academy they experienced the life of a professional rider, which included a ride experience at the Women’s Tour, Tour of Britain and Tour Series. Each rider was also educated in the performance, nutrition and media profiles required to be a modern-day pro-cyclist.
Dame Sarah Storey said “I’m delighted to see how much progress each of the academy riders have made during their time with the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy. They have all made big steps forward in their cycling careers.
“To have worked with such passionate individuals who are committed to improving their performance both on and off the bike has been a real privilege and I wish them all the best for their next step. I will be following their progress.”
Storey continued “My advice to all of the riders has remained consistent throughout the time I have worked with them. Focus on a process driven approach and the things that are within your control. Logical decision making is key and maximising new opportunities will always be important.
“By creating a plan that is both challenging but achievable they will be able to continue the progress they have made during their time with the ŠKODA Academy.”
Morgan Newberry and Rebecca Richards completed three years in the academy and were selected by Dame Sarah Storey herself to join Storey Racing.
Morgan Newberry will be competing for Storey Racing in the National Road Race Series. She said, “I’ve been on a three-year journey with the academy. Thanks to Dame Sarah and ŠKODA I’ve progressed from a novice club rider to joining a major cycling team.”
In addition to competing in the National Road Race Series, Newberry hopes to follow in the footsteps of Dame Sarah by taking part in the Para World Cup road race and time trial next year. Morgan has the same disability as Dame Sarah; and through the academy programme her bike has received the same modifications as her mentor so that she is now riding more efficiently.
Newberry continued “The Paris 2024 Paralympics are definitely on my radar and I’m keen to push myself over the next few years. What better mentor to have than Team GB’s greatest ever Paralympian.”
Rebecca Richards also joins the rider line-up at Storey Racing and will be competing in the National Road Race, Circuit and Time Trials Series next year. Richards said “I’ve enjoyed so many fantastic ride experiences with the academy and they’re all tied together with a real sense of achievement.”
Megan Dickerson has joined FTP Racing (Fulfil the Potential Racing) and will be targeting national level time trial and road races in the new 2022 season. Dickerson said “I’m thrilled to be stepping up to the next level to join FTP Racing, a team of strong female riders. All of the academy riders are now close friends and I’m excited to competing against them in the very near future.”
Lucy Ellmore will be wearing the colours of Pro-Noctis next year in the National Road and Circuit Series. Ellmore said “I’ve decided to take a year out from my studies to focus on cycling and I’ll be juggling work at the local police treatment centre with riding with the Pro-Noctis team.
“I particularly enjoy the criterium races in city centres, the big crowds create an amazing atmosphere and a real buzz”
The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy offers ambitious female cyclists, aged between 17-22, with a route to the elite level of the sport and includes ‘money cannot buy ride experiences’. Earlier this year academy riders took part in a ride out with Dame Sarah Storey across stage 5 of the Tour of Britain and completed a recce of the Women’s Tour time trial stage in advance of the professionals.
ŠKODA adds that it is committed to furthering the opportunities for female riders and will be announcing details in January of how young, female riders can apply to become part of the 2022 intake of academy riders.
ŠKODA started life as a bicycle company in 1895 and the brand continues to honour its heritage. In tandem with its headline sponsorship of key events in the cycling calendar, ŠKODA notes that it is committed to championing gender equality in the professional tour series.