One of the most decorated sportswomen in British history, Dame Sarah Storey, is to add another string to her extraordinary bow.
For the 39-year-old multiple gold medallist has launched a new British elite women’s cycling team with her husband Barney.
Storey is Britain’s most successful female Paralympian of all time, winning a staggering total of 14 gold medals in the sports of cycling and swimming, while Barney, also 39, won three golds himself as her tandem pilot on the bike.
Now the pair have decided to take their careers into fresh territory with the aim of building a team strong enough to compete for honours at events run by the sport’s governing body, the UCI.
“I am delighted to be able to bring back an elite women’s racing team back into the UK peloton,” said Storey, who ids also a 27-time world champion. “We want to encourage everyone to give their best from a platform in the UK.”
The Storeys, who are based in Disley, have run cycling teams before, with one, the Podium Ambition outfit, folding in October last year because of financial problems. However, they hope this venture can attract more sponsorship, which would fund their long-term aspirations.
Six of the Podium Ambition riders, Neah Evans, Bethany Crumpton, Monica Dew, EJay Harris, Katie Prankerd and Hannah Dines, will join the newly-formed squad. They will be joined by Dannielle Khan, Jennifer George, Laura Cameron, Chanel Mason and junior Mercy Webb.
“I hope this new platform will give us a strong basis on which to build over the coming years,” said Storey. “There remains a unique opportunity to create a world-dominating, entirely British-focused, professional team if the right backing can be found.
“As we see better and better coverage of women’s racing, there is a greater return on investment for sponsors. We hope to play a part in creating that opportunity.”
Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand, won her first Paralympic gold as a swimmer at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. She switched to cycling, both road and track, for the 2008 Games in Beijing.