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The talented trio! Introducing Welland Valley’s Youth Development Programme for 2022

Three young Welland Valley riders are to be supported by the club to further develop their cycling skills.

Dom Switzer, Jamie Kershaw and Alex Smith will all receive backing from the club’s youth development programme in 2022.

The Club will part-fund specialist training through the Brian Steel Academy for two riders, with another being supported for specialist mountain bike training.

Established in 2019, the fund has supported five young riders to date.

Below, the talented trio outline – in their own words – a little of their cycling history and some future targets.

 Dom Switzer

I have been a member of the club for nearly ten years and back then Saturday afternoon Whizz Kids were the highlight of my weekend.  I am now a first year Junior (U18) and still ride with and race against some of the people I used to race against in the skills tests at Welland Park back then so I have had some great experiences with the club over these years.

I have had great opportunities with the club, progressing from Whizz Kids to Wednesday skills sessions, club time trials, club rides and more recently the chain gang.

Cyclocross has always been a big focus for me and i have just finished a busy season of racing that included all the rounds of the National Trophy, the National Champs and local leagues when I could.

I used to ride the track at Derby a lot and it is great way for young riders to develop skills and fitness but my second love is now mountain biking and so for the season ahead I am planning to ride most (probably not quite all) of the National Series leading up to the National Championship,  which is at Glentress, a venue I really like.  I will also ride the club mid week time trials and I am hoping to have some good enough form to be able to post a quick time on the Kibworth course.  I am also planning to try a few local road races, which I haven’t done before, to help with my Mountain Bike and Cross training.

I have ridden National series events and the National Championships for Mountain Bike and Cyclocross since I was an U14 racer, I have represented the East Midlands at track and Mountain Bike and represented the region at the European Mountain bike Championships in Italy in 2019.

Beyond this summer…. I would love to get an entry to race the 3 Peaks in September and to race at a big Superprestige Cyclocross in Belgium next winter.

Jamie Kershaw

I would like to take this to thank the club for supporting me this year with my cycling. My plans for this year as a 2nd year U14 will be to compete in a few of the mountain bike nationals and to do all of the U14 youth circuit national series trying to achieve some top 10 finishes.

The first event for the nationals will be on the Isle of Man and this should be an interesting first national event for me to compete in. I will look at doing some of the Mallory Circuit series on Tuesday’s and also some of the FNSS and between all of this I plan to fit in some club TTs.

At the end of the year I shall be taking part in some of the National Cyclo Cross events and doing all of the Leicestershire Cyclo Cross league.

Alex Smith

Cycling has always been in my family. I have uncles who have raced at a high level in Belgium, to my dad who has been an avid cyclist for a long time, but only really for an excuse to go to a café or the pub (sorry dad).

I only began cycling in the first lockdown as something to do other than play on my PlayStation and quickly caught the bug. I would be going out twice a day with my dad, but never really thought of anything more from the sport than a bit of extra fitness. Then I decided to join a club. This was where my growth blossomed, and I learned a lot about the sport and found my first true love. After this point there was clearly no going back and as soon as the winter was over, I was doing as many TTs and races as possible.

Now, nearly two years after starting, I have taken the next big step and found myself a coach. I’m excited to see where my future in cycling is headed, but at the very least I have found a passion and hobby for life, meeting some amazing people and suffering a fair bit too!

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