Gwyneth Parry passes her tests with flying colours to secure academy place

Shropshire’s Gwyneth Parry is on the fast track to success after being selected for a prestigious cycling programme.

Gwyneth Parry
Gwyneth Parry

The 19-year-old from Pontesbury fought off competition from over 100 riders during a testing day at Lee Valley VeloPark to earn her place in the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy.

She will now develop her cycling skills under the tutelage of one of Britain’s greatest Paralympians, Dame Sarah Storey.

Currently studying for her A Levels at Ludlow College, Parry will join Academy Principal Storey and complete the university-style programme that aims to provide ambitious female cyclists, aged between 17-22, with a route to the elite level of the sport.

A promising runner, previously representing North Wales in track, cross country and mountain running events, Parry only took up cycling during the first lockdown when she became injured with stress fractures of her legs and needed to find a new sporting focus that wouldn’t affect her injuries.

“I couldn’t believe that I got through to the testing day at the London Velodrome, and when I got the call to say that I had been selected I was in shock but did remember to accept straight away!” said Parry.

“I would like to thank my cycling coach, George Evans, for helping me to improve and suggesting that I apply. My dream is to race for a professional cycling team.”

Parry, who currently trains up to six days a week on her bike, added: “When I was injured during the first lockdown I dusted off my road bike and put my focus into cycling.

“I have recently been racing for another cycling team and really enjoyed it but there were no other girls in my age group. I am looking forward to joining the Academy, meeting the other riders and learning from Dame Sarah Strorey.”

More than 100 aspiring female amateur riders applied to join the Academy by providing details of their cycling experience, ambitions, and training schedule.

A total of 17 riders were then shortlisted to attend the second stage of the selection process, a testing day at the Lee Valley VeloPark, London on Monday 17th May.

Parry was put through her paces in a series of tests that included a peak power test, a three-minute maximal test and a 12-minute steady state challenge. She then completed laps of the outdoor closed circuit to test her physical handling and pacing abilities.

Dame Sarah Storey commented: “Gwyneth impressed everyone with her calm and controlled approach to the whole day. She rode the tests with a fluid and relaxed style that made it look effortless despite the power she was putting out. On the road bike test, it was clear she has the capacity to be a well drilled member of a team with a huge potential.”

The Academy programme will provide Parry with the opportunity to experience the life of a professional rider, covering the performance, nutrition and media profile required to be a modern-day pro cyclist.

The 2021 schedule also offers the chance to race in the Women’s National Road and Circuit Series and attend ŠKODA sponsored events, which include the Women’s Tour and the Tour Series.

She will receive regular reviews and undergo intense training in order to graduate on to the next year of the programme, whether that’s a place on the Storey Racing roster, a place on a UCI Women’s World Tour team or another year as part of the Academy.

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