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Amy is on the right track for career in cycle racing

By Carmarthen Journal  |  Posted: August 01, 2012

AT age 14, Amy Roberts began taking part in triathlon events and joined a local cycling club to improve her skills in the saddle.

Four years later, triathlons are a distant memory and cycling has become a way of life for the 17-year-old.

She is a current European champion with her sights firmly set on the next Olympics in 2016.

Here she speaks about her success to date and future hopes.

Next month Amy will be jetting off to New Zealand to take part in the World Track Championships.

It is the latest in a series of high-profile cycling competitions she has entered over the past year.

Within the past 12 months Amy has clinched the title of European Team Pursuit Champion and won gold at another competition.

Coupled with regular training with the Olympic Development Programme, she has a busy calendar ahead.

Amy, who lives in Pontyberem, had been studying for her A-levels, however, she will not be returning to school at QE High in Carmarthen as her cycling career is beginning to take off.

Amy said of the big step to leave school: "It was a big decision to make but I have missed so much school this year already through going away for cycling training and competitions that it was hard to keep up with my AS-level studies."

The jump to doing cycling full-time means Amy is now focused on working her way up into the senior level of Team GB and hopefully representing Britain at the top of her game.

The last five years has seen Amy move quickly through the ranks and even rub shoulders with Olympic athletes Nicole Cooke and Mark Cavendish, who have been at events across Europe with other young riders like Amy.

Improve

She explained how she clinched her first title — British Cyclo-cross Champion — within a year of joining Carmarthen's Towy Riders cycle club.

The club has built a reputation for honing the talents of young riders under the watchful eye of club boss Neil Hunt.

Amy explained: "I joined the club mainly because coaches at the triathlon club in Llanelli suggested I could improve my cycling.

"I started training on the velodrome of Carmarthen park with the Towy Riders and from there entered competitions such as cyclo-cross and mountain biking, not so much road racing and time trials as I do now."

Cyclo-cross involves riding a road bike with much chunkier wheels.

The sport consists of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount.

"That was a shock to win that championship and to be on the podium was something I didn't expect," she said.

From here Amy was invited by talent spotters to train at the velodrome in Newport, Gwent.

Along with other like-minded young cyclists Amy developed her technique and skills on racing bikes and started entering competitions, eventually every weekend she could be anywhere — the length and breadth of Britain competing.

"My family have been really supportive and we were away a lot at weekends for competitions."

Last year she began travelling with Team GB youth members to competitions in Europe such as Portugal and Denmark.

"Those were great experiences as part of the Olympic Development Programme because there are only a small number of girls chosen to go along and it's a real honour to take part.

The Danish event saw Amy racing around the streets of Copenhagen, the event was also televised on Eurosport.

Looking ahead to the coming months Amy hopes to move to Manchester and get involved in an Olympic Academy, where she will plough all her efforts into training and work as a professional athlete, for which she will earn a wage.

She said: "It's all really exciting and I hope I can get to Manchester and continue training and work my way towards bigger competitions.

"My aim is to be British champion and I want to compete at Commonwealth level too because it would be an ideal way of preparing for Olympic level competitions."

"A main goal over the next for years is to keep working with Team GB and get selected for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics."

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