Dame Sarah Storey injury recovery fuelled by goal to compete in able-bodied 2023 Cycling World Championships in Glasgow

Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s greatest ever Paralympian, took time out during a visit to the men’s Tour of Britain with her ŠKODA Academy riders earlier in the month to provide an update on her recovery from serious injury and confirm her goals for the future which includes competing in the able-bodied World Cycling Championships in Glasgow next year. The World Championships will be the first ‘super championships’ with mountain bike, track and road all being hosted at the same time in the same place. The UCI has stated this will be a 4-yearly special event.

Q&A with Dame Sarah Storey

Can you tell us about the crash that ruled you out of the Para-Cycling Road World Championships?

I crashed during the Road World Cup road race when another rider deviated from their line and directly across my front wheel. This left me with concussion symptoms, broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.

How is your injury recovery progressing and when will you be back racing again?

I’ve just got back from a training camp where I built back up to normal levels of training and intensity. I have been progressing ahead of schedule and there should not be any long-term damage.

I race again at the Curlew Cup in Northumberland on Sunday 18th September (now due to take place 9th October). The race is three laps of a 25-mile circuit and I’m looking forward to getting back out there on an event that I won back in 2012.

What are your plans and goals for the future? 

I’m training for the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Paris in October with selection confirmed in the next month. After that, there will be a brief off-season break before starting the build-up to Glasgow 2023, a combined World Cycling Championships for all 13 cycling disciplines. I’d like to challenge for selection for both the women’s Time Trial as well as the events I usually aim for in para-cycling.

Selection for my ninth Paralympic Games in Paris is the current big aim of this Paralympic cycle, it’s a very different process compared to previous Games because it is only three years in length. It would be amazing to be able to get to Paris and see whether I am able to defend the titles won in the previous Games.

(Storey won Paralympic gold in the Individual Pursuit, Road Time Trial and Road Race in Tokyo last year)

How have Storey Racing and the Academy graduates progressed this year?

Storey Racing has been rebuilding after the pandemic, but it’s been great to see riders stepping up.   Rebecca Richards, ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy graduate, has improved beyond all expectations, racing her first international races in the USA and France.

Morgan Newberry, another ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy graduate, gained selection for the Para-Cycling Road World Championships. She finished top 10 in both races, and this was a brilliant result for her. She’s since gone on to win the National Time Trial Champs for the C5 category and is going from strength to strength.

Can you tell us about the Academy programme this year?  What have your Academy riders learnt from getting behind the scenes on stage five of the Tour of Britain?

The Academy have had a different mix of experiences this year with the first full year post-Covid restrictions. It’s been an exciting mix of visiting the Tour de France and seeing the first women’s race start in 33 years, to spending time with me to work on the specifics of their individual riding and they’ve also been working with a sports psychologist.

The visits to the Men’s and Women’s Tour of Britain races have also provided a different view of racing for the riders and during our time at the men’s race, we’ve been looking at how race tactics vary with different stage types and course profiles.

How have the existing and new Academy riders progressed this year?

All of the Academy riders have been doing some incredible things and everyone has improved on their race progress compared to where they were at the start of the year. What’s been most impressive has been how they have taken on the advice to not be afraid of things not working the first time and to go out and experience as much racing as they can. Off the bike they have all been learning about the benefit of following a process-driven approach and not always focusing on the outcome, so to see the riders putting this into practice has been inspiring.

The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy

The 2022 ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy programme, now in its fourth year, is designed to sit alongside each rider’s existing club or team activity, providing the opportunity to experience the life of a professional rider with on and off-bike experiences throughout the year.

The Academy provides ambitious female cyclists, aged between 18-24, with a chance to learn and develop a clear direction within the sport so that they can maximise their potential.

Dame Sarah Storey’s mentorship includes planning and bespoke advice on racing, training and career progression beyond the Academy. Additional social media and media training sits alongside a sport psychology programme developed exclusively for the Academy.

The Academy ride experiences take place during ŠKODA-sponsored events that include the Women’s Tour (June), Tour de France (July) and Tour of Britain (September).

Earlier this year three new riders, Alex Morrice, Katie-Ann Elliston and Maia Forde were selected by Dame Sarah Storey to join three existing Academy riders, Maddi Aldam-Gates, Gwyneth Parry and Olivia French, who were selected for the programme last year.

For more information on the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy, please visit: www.skoda.co.uk/discover/cycling-academy