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The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy is a ground-breaking initiative that has given four talented young riders the chance to develop their skills under the mentorship of Dame Sarah Storey.

Meet the team

Rebecca Richards, Newark

Rebecca Richards, ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy rider

I started cycling a few years ago, back when I was a teenager, and have become absolutely obsessed with it: you can nearly always find me training, racing or talking about my road bike!

Rebecca Richards

A bit about cycling
I love to train around the Peak District as its challenging terrain for any cyclist! There’s a good range of sharp and gradual hills to get the legs on fire! My favourite type racing is Crit racing, fast, technical and gets the adrenaline pumping! I ride a Specialized S-Works SL5 Tarmac. The one bit of kit I couldn’t be without would be my Power meter I love analysing my own data and knowing what I areas I need to work on, I would be lost without it.

Life outside of training
I work in a Specialized Concept Store, the time once work and training is out of the way is spent either painting or creating content for my social streams.

Dream cycling destination
My dream cycling destination would have to be somewhere mountainous either Italy with the dolomites or I would love to escape to the Pyrenees.

Favourite Academy experience
My favourite academy experience would have to be riding L’etape du tour it was an amazing experience with the locals standing by the road cheering us to the top. One of the most memorable moments I have was going under the “Welcome to Val Thorens” sign thinking I was nearly at the finish, only to be greeted by a huge mountain with three or four more hairpins to go before we saw the actual finish line.

Morgan Newberry, Leicester / Sheffield

I’m a female C5 paracyclist venturing into racing bikes. Cycling has always been a massive part of my life, it is an escape from the world we live in where you step out of the front door and pedal off everything that is going on, for me cycling has brought me many friends and experiences

Morgan Newberry

A bit about cycling
I am very lucky to live 30 minutes away from the Peak District, so I spend most of my time out in the hills climbing and descending – great fun and amazing views. I also actually ‘like’ to train on Zwift, which I find a motivating platform great to hit out the sessions that need to be done. I ride a Liv Langma and couldn’t be without my Wahoo bike computer for exploring! Track racing and pursuit events are my favourite – it is just you against the bike, similar to a TT which I also enjoy very much.

Life outside of training
I am into my final semester at Sheffield Hallam university where I have studied Nutrition, exploring the relationships between endurance athletes (predominantly cyclists) and the dietary restrictions that are employed to reduce exercise induced gastrointestinal symptoms.  I really love a good walk, exploring a new place with others, a picnic and café stop where appropriate. Riding with friends is obviously a big love too!

Dream cycling destination
A bike holiday in the Pyrenees is what I would very much like to do, beautiful views.

Favourite Academy experience
Riding the E’tape in 2019, 135km but with over 4500 metres of climbing. Finishing with a climb up the Val Thorens, a 35km climb. It nearly broke me as a day out but wow it was incredible to reach that finish line after probably one of the most mentally and physically toughest experiences ever!

Meredith Gilbert, Brighton

I started cycling my commute in 2018 and rode the 15 miles journey each way nearly every day for a year. In May 2019 I got my first road bike and absolutely loved how much faster, smoother and stiffer the bike felt compared to my commuter.

Meredith Gilbert

A bit about cycling
I do 99% of my training on the turbo, but I do love riding round the Sussex lanes, especially when the weather is good! I ride an Orro Gold STC, and I couldn’t be without a Wahoo Kickr Core Turbo. I’ve enjoyed time trailing, but this may just be because I’m still daunted by riding so close to other riders.

Life outside of training
I’m an apprentice, so am both working and studying to become a structural engineer. Outside of this work and training, I cook a lot and (secretly) love running!

Dream cycling destination
My dream cycling destination would be around the fjords in Norway.

Favourite Academy experience
My favourite moment would actually be the testing day. It was amazing to meet so many talented female riders from across the country, all of us there because we love and care about the same sport!

Megan Dickerson, Bristol

I first began riding during my first year of university in 2015, racing as part of the university club from 2016, and with my local club. I have focused on time trialling for the 2019 season, finishing 16th in the BC National TT Championships and 5th at the CTT National 10-mile TT.

Megan Dickerson

A bit about cycling
The Cotswolds and South Wales feature in some of my favourite local training routes and my favourite kind of racing has to be time trialling. My TT bike is a Pinarello Bolide and my road bike is a Pinarello Dogma F12, I couldn’t be without my Enve wheels!

Life outside of training
I’m a social media manager at SHIFT Active Media, I spend most of my spare time training, sleeping, eating, and hanging out with friends (when that’s allowed). I love a local coffee shop (FCP Coffee in Bristol is my favourite place to while away an afternoon in the company of good friends, excellent coffee, and top quality baked goods). I’m a big fan of a bit of an off road adventure with my partner and anytime I’m at home with nothing else to do I’ll probably be watching bike racing…

Dream cycling destination
Either the French Alps or Girona, I’d love to visit Morzine again, the location of my first ever cycling holiday.

Favourite Academy experience
It’s got to be a toss up between the first Thruxton event, where I made the podium in the individual event and then we won the team time trial. I loved that we were all there supporting one another and also that my family and many friends from the time trialling community were there too. But also the E’tape which was just a brutal day on the bike but such a mega experience with a lot of laughs and fun with the whole team.

Join the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy

The Academy is now looking for two new riders to join them for their 2021 programme for a series of on and off bike opportunities throughout 2021, to provide incredible experiences and help develop their careers.
Applications are now open until Friday 5th March.
Find out more information here.
Apply here.

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