Talented Welwyn Wheelers youngsters earn GB call-up and shot at potential Olympic glory

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 October 2018

Welwyn Wheelers' Ellen Bennett in action at the Assen Youth Cycling Tour.

Welwyn Wheelers' Ellen Bennett in action at the Assen Youth Cycling Tour.

Archant

Welwyn Wheelers have had plenty to celebrate this season and the success on road, track and mud has led to a number of their talented youngsters gaining national recognition.

Welwyn Wheelers' Tom Sharples.Welwyn Wheelers' Tom Sharples.

Joe Kiely, Tom Sharples and Ellen Bennett have all been named as apprentices for the Olympic pathway programme while Oli Stockwell will join up with the junior academy.

The programme will give the potential British stars individual training as well as regular camps with the best coaches in the country.

And if successful, it could lead to world and Olympic glory in the future.

The apprentices are split into sprint or endurance groups with Sharples going into the sprint camp.

He said: “I have a GB coach called Andy Leverton and they give me a training plan and camps every couple of months.

“This year is about finding out who is good enough for the GB academy and then if you got that you’ll go to junior world championships and things like that.

“If it all goes well then I’ll be delighted to be an international.

“It’s just a case of working hard and keeping going.

“I got fifth in the national championships for sprints on the track so hopefully I’m going in the right direction.”

Bennett, like Kiely, will be in the endurance ranks and said the call came as a huge shock.

Speaking before the weekend she said: “I was very surprised as I haven’t been racing for very long but it’s a bit of a family thing. My brother, sister, mum and dad all cycle.

“We have two training days a month and the training camp will give me the chance to see what its like.

“That lasts until June and then there is a trial to see if you get onto the Olympic development programme.

“A lot of it will be the track but there are also road races.”

She has her fingers crossed but admits it is a bit of a step into the unknown.

“I’m hoping I can just keep on improving and do well in the nationals,” she said. “I’m really enjoying the road at the moment.

“I only started when I was 12 and last year’s cross season was my first-ever nationals.”

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