The Strength of Experience and the Value of Learning From Others…

By Jude Cornish

Name: Olivia

Age: 20

Life Stage: Student at Durham University, going into 3rd Year Maths

Started Cycling: March 2020, due to no tennis in lockdown. Cycling specific training started at the end of November 2020

Training: Around 12 hours per week cycling, 5-6 hours tennis and 4-5 hours in the gym doing weights/mobility

No. of Races: Only 4 so far – more to come!

Thoughts on Racing: From the small experience of racing I’ve had, I absolutely LOVE it. At the start I’m nervous, but that feeling goes away once I get going.

Racing Highlights: 1st place at Team GB World Championships Age-Group Duathlon Qualifier

This Year’s Goals: Enjoy the unique experience Škoda has given me, work as hard as I possibly can, and keep learning and improving.

Hopes for the Academy: Reaching my potential in cycling, while inspiring as many people, women especially, to get out on two wheels!

Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions e.g. about bike maintenance or local cycle routes. I’ve found other riders will be more than happy to help you out


Name: Gwyneth

Age: 19

Life Stage: Studying for A levels in biology, chemistry and economics

Started Cycling: Seriously in April 2020 after being injured out of competitive running

Training: A mix of sessions and endurance work, as well as some strength and core work each week

No. of Races: Around 10 local hill climbs and time trials.

Thoughts on Racing: I really enjoy it, and can’t wait to do more, as well as some road racing.

Racing Highlights: Competing for Wales in the International Mountain Running Youth Cup in Italy in both 2018 and 2019

This Year’s Goals: Continue to train hard and improve with the Škoda Academy, as well as gaining race experience.

Hopes for the Academy: To work towards the next level of my cycling, as well as hopefully getting others involved in the sport

Top Tip: Listen to your body – know when to push hard, but also when to take it a bit easier!


Name: Lucy

Age: 18

Life Stage: Just finished A-Levels in maths, physics and geography.

Started Cycling: Cycled for fun since I was 3, started racing at 14 when I joined Otley Cycle Club.

Training: Endurance and efforts sessions with some strength and conditioning work off the bike.

No. of Races: 84 road & circuit races, 6 time trials, 3 hill climbs.

Thoughts on racing: I love racing and the buzz it gives me from pushing myself against others.

Racing Highlights: 2nd in the 2019 Yorkshire Regional Road Race Championships.

This Year’s Goals: To work hard to achieve the best results I can and enjoy racing again after such a long break last year due to COVID.

Hopes for the Academy: I can’t wait to work with the other girls on the team to promote the sport and inspire others to get into cycling. It is really nice to see more women out on the roads and hopefully we can continue to increase this number.

Top Tip: The most important thing is to make sure you enjoy it! If you want to take yourself to the next level, make sure you are enjoying the training so you don’t fall out of love with the sport.


Name: Maddi

Age: 18

Life Stage: Just completed 1-year Art Foundation, going into 1st Year Combined Honours in Social Sciences at Durham University

Started Cycling: Cycling specific training started in March 2020 due to closure of swimming pools – my previous training grounds!

Training: Around 9 hours per week of cycling, including 2 high-intensity paceline rides with my clubs Bath CC and BOA CC

No. of Races: 5 so far; 1 road race and 4 pursuit-style circuit races

Thoughts on Racing: There’s so much to learn, but I love the buzz of finishing a good race, and can’t wait to develop my racing skills/tactics

Racing Highlights: So far, my first win at the Odd Down Summer Pursuit closed circuit race a couple of weeks ago – it was a great race and really good experience

This Year’s Goals: Gain experience from across the racing disciplines, including road racing, time trialling, and close circuit racing,

Hopes for the Academy: Begin to identify my strengths and weaknesses in cycling, using the support and expertise of Škoda and Dame Sarah Storey

Top tip: Join a cycling club if you’re not already part of one, and make use of the club rides available. I find that the organised, team nature of club rides provides the perfect conditions for having fun, whilst pushing yourself to your limits!