A LUDLOW College student will receive expert tutelage from Paralympics legend Dame Sarah Storey after beating off competition from more than 100 rivals to land a cycling academy spot.

Gwyneth Parry, 19, was selected to be part of the prestigious Skoda DSI Cycling Academy by Dame Storey – despite only seriously taking up the sport during last year’s coronavirus lockdown.

Parry, a promising runner, previously representing North Wales in track, cross country and mountain running events, is studying for her A-levels.

She took up cycling during the first lockdown when she became injured with stress fractures of her legs and needed to find a new sporting focus that would not affect her injuries.

The teenager said: “When I was injured during the first lockdown I dusted off my road bike and put my focus into cycling.

“I have recently been racing for another cycling team and really enjoyed it but there were no other girls in my age group.

“I am looking forward to joining the Academy, meeting the other riders and learning from Dame Sarah Storey.”

The university-style three-year programme aims to provide ambitious female cyclists, aged between 17-22, with a route to the elite level of the sport.

Out of more than 100 applicants, 17 riders were shortlisted to attend the second stage of the selection process, a testing day at the Lee Valley VeloPark, London.

Parry was put through her paces in a series of cycling tests that included a peak power test, a three-minute maximal test, a 12-minute steady state challenge and laps of the outdoor closed circuit.

“I couldn’t believe I got through to the testing day at the London Velodrome, and when I got the call to say that I had been selected I was in shock but did remember to accept straight away!” she added.

Dame Storey said: “Gwyneth impressed everyone with her calm and controlled approach. She rode the tests with a fluid and relaxed style that made it look effortless despite the power she was putting out.

“On the road bike test, it was clear she has the capacity to be a well drilled member of a team with a huge potential.”