Olivia French, the cyclist who Bott and Co sponsor, has been announced as Storey Racing Team’s first dual sport rider for 2022, less than a year after being chosen to join the prestigious ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy, headed up by Academy Principal and Olympic gold medallist, Dame Sarah Storey.
Storey Racing, led by co-founders Dame Sarah and Barney Storey, saw 21-year-old Olivia as the perfect candidate for their new dual sport rider membership, a talented tennis player who took to the saddle during lockdown when tennis courts were closed.
Bott and Co have been continued sponsors of Olivia, in her days at Wilmslow High School and having since bought her first bike, having rode on her mum’s old one during lockdown. We have also contributed towards a winter training bike which Dame Sarah Storey advised would help Olivia continue cycling in the winter months.
Speaking of joining her newest team, Olivia said: “I am just so excited to ride in my new kit, I was like a kid at Christmas opening it and putting it on for the first time! I love the #bestversionofyou and #processdriven ethos and know that this is the best place for me to develop as a rider.
Since SKODA have decided not to continue the race team in 2022, I get to stay on with them too and will be representing at several events including a trip to France for le Tour de France Femmes.
I have already taken part in my first ever CX race on my Bott and Co funded winter bike. I’ve also done my first crit of the year and was so pleased to come third; it was great to stand on the podium in my new Storey Racing kit, especially with Bott and Co being a sponsor of the event.”
Whilst all the riders in Storey Racing have slightly different types of membership, focusing on different areas of cycling, Olivia’s membership is a newly created opportunity to assist her in gaining a full team role in 2023.
With her primary focus being local and regional events, time trials and establishing her training environment alongside her tennis, she will also have key times of the year when she is pushed to join the other senior riders at a national level races.
Sports Director Barney Storey explained further, “All of our seniors riders are already in a position to test the water at international level, so the idea behind this final place is that we have a rider working with us who is developing to be in that position herself within the next year or two.
Olivia has already fast tracked her way to a 2nd category licence and is rapidly improving her race results at local and regional level. With more time to expand her race craft in these smaller races it won’t be long before she is able to hold her own in the national level events and from there take on a team role.
When I first saw Olivia race at a circuit event at Thruxton, I was very impressed by her willingness to get stuck in and try to be involved in the action at the front of the race. Once she’s gained in cycling fitness and efficiency, she’ll be able to take that determination to higher level races and do well. I’m also incredibly impressed by her organisational skills and the balancing act she plays whilst at University and playing tennis. I have worked with a number of riders who have dual sport credentials so I am well aware of the challenges.”
Avid cyclist, David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to partner with Olivia as she continues her cycling journey as part of Storey Racing.
It’s clear that she is no ordinary athlete. She is a go-getter and has the drive and determination which will no doubt see her being successful in many races and making a great name for herself in the world of cycling.
Her story will hopefully inspire others of the joys of cycling and that there are many fantastic opportunities and a lot of support within the sport.
We’re going to be working with Olivia on ways to make positive changes where necessary in both local and national cycling communities, helping the next generation of riders take to the pedals along with joining and supporting Olivia on her own journey which we’re thrilled to be a part of.”
Olivia continues: “I’m looking forward to heading into the summer focussing on cycling and the unique opportunities I’ve been given by Storey Racing and SKODA.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me this year; the support I’ve received has been really appreciated. A special mention goes to Bott and Co, who have been incredible in supporting me from my high school days to now.
Who knows where two wheels will take me but I know I’ll enjoy the journey and I’m excited to see where I can end up in the sport.”