I'm excited to announce that I will be joining Cycling Sheffield for the 2021 season.
It goes without saying that moving up from Junior to U23 next year was going to be tricky. With hardly any racing, no Junior National Series and all the rest of the Spokes RT race calendar cancelled or inaccessible due to Covid, I wasn't certain I'd be able to secure a good place for 2021. But I know Team Manager Dave Coulson and he's been good enough to follow what I'm doing for a couple of years so when I applied I had everything crossed.
Really, joining Cycling Sheffield was the obvious choice for me for several reasons. Firstly I've lived and grown up in Sheffield for the last 18 years so this is my home city (with the best roads to train on in the Peak District!). Secondly, so I can concentrate on cycling and study at the same time, I've just started my degree in Physics at the University of Sheffield. But mainly it's about having a team that supports my ambitions to get to the top international level and will give me the experiences I need to develop.
Cycling Sheffield is an Elite cycling team based around the European concept of linking a cycling team to a city or region and one that has been seen great success in Europe.
The team has been created to complement and promote the Sheffield Outdoor City concept and is sponsored and supported by local businesses and organisations. There is a great race programme for 2021 and being a small group of riders presents the opportunity to compete in a lot of high standard races and gain experience, something I'm really looking forward to having had no racing since March this year.
The team has been out for a training ride already and I'm really looking forward to working with a great bunch of lads, learning from the more experienced riders and from Dave Coulson. The team has had great success developing riders like Connor Swift into the higher echelons of cycling so hopefully I can follow suit!
I'd like to take the opportunity to pass on my thanks and appreciation to the people who support me:
Huge thanks to Huw Spacey and Craig Stevenson at Vitfor Future Champions project for their ongoing coaching and guidance. It really makes a difference to have good coaches behind you, especially this year because they've helped me to stay focussed and improve my performance without the racing.
Pedal Potential funding has also been really appreciated this year, and as always I've had great support from Giant Sheffield who have continued to support me and my TCR, and my Trinity TT bike this year.
Other supporters include Mat at Hallamshire Physiotherapy and Paul at Fellas hair who look after me really well. Also Sheffield University who have taken me onto their Elite Sports Performance Scheme which gives me various benefits and will mean that I'll represent the university in BUCS Road Race and TT events next season.
Last but by no means least, those who I have to leave behind in 2021... thanks to Spokes Race Team, it was brief but fun and I still learned a lot. Also the Tom Simpson Memorial Fund and Chris Sidwells whose support has been invaluable to me over the last couple of years. Only sorry I'm now too old for either of these.
Now it's on with winter training ready for a return to racing in the Spring. Hoping for a cracking year in 2021, as I think we all are.