News – Podium Ambition’s Scholarship Programme


Women’s pro team Podium Ambition launch their Scholarship Programme for 2016

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News – Podium Ambition’s Scholarship Programme

Following on from the announcement of their professional women’s team, Podium Ambition, the not for profit company set up by Dame Sarah and Barney Storey in 2013, can now confirm the names of 6 female riders who will make up the Podium Ambition Scholarship Programme.


The Programme will be made up of three over 23’s and three under 23’s/Juniors to ensure that there is equal chance for riders of any age to progress and reach their potential. Racing in the colours of the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club the riders in the under 23/Junior category will be 21 year old Bethany Crumpton current under 23 National Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion who competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games for Team England, Bethany Taylor, recently turned 18 and a strong rider on both the track and road, as well as second year Junior, Monica Hope Dew, who has impressed everyone in track and road events alike.

The over 23 category will be made up of Nikola Matthews who has been a member of Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International in the past two seasons, Ruth Taylor who joins from the Manchester Wheelers and Kelly Murphy from Birmingham who is studying for a PhD and only started racing last year.

The creation of the programme falls in alongside the Storey’s vision for a viable development option for British women who wish to pursue a career as a road professional and the Scholars will have numerous benefits including a close relationship with the riders of the professional team they aspire to.

Riders on the programme will receive free membership and race for the newly created Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club, as well as having access to a sponsored Road and Time Trial bike, race wheels, helmet and eyewear, plus general support for racing. Perhaps the most unique part of the programme will be the links to the professional team for training and mentoring as well as creating a strong link to the general membership of the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club who will be racing in the same kit. Riders will be encouraged to ride other disciplines, such as track, cyclo-cross or cross country mountain bike to enhance their skill development.

Whilst the Scholars will have strong links to the professional riders away from racing, they will be led and supported as a team in their own right at UK events across a selected programme of road, time trial and criterium events. Dame Sarah Storey, who herself didn’t start cycling until the age of 27 explained the vision of the organisation as a whole but the importance of these riders being a stand-alone team on race day.

“We didn’t want to create a pro team development squad that would be defined and limited in their racing according to what the professional team were doing. A true path from UK racing to the UCI peloton allows the developing riders the autonomy to have their own programme and race plans, so by creating a Scholarship Programme, that races as a different team, we can ensure that everyone is well looked after and supported with their individual needs and everyone gets access to as much racing as needed to progress.”

“As with our UK based team in the past two years, there will be a strong emphasis on an all-round programme of road, time trial and crits, to ensure the riders experience every type of racing and develop as wide a range of skills as possible. In addition the wider membership of the Boot Out Breast Cancer club will be able to race alongside these girls at Time Trials and any events where there may be a space on the start sheet.”

Sarah continued, “The Cycling Club, Scholarship Programme and Professional team now ensures that Podium Ambition Limited has the complete pathway for a female cyclist and the stronger and faster you get on a bike the greater the support available. I have been in elite sport for 24 years now and so it is an honour to be in a position to co-create, alongside Barney, something that helps put a bit back for all the support we have had over the years.”



First to speak of her excitement to be part of the programme was Kelly Murphy, who despite only starting racing last year has already shown huge promise and strength on a bike having raced well in the Women’s Ras in September 2015, “The Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International team has been a team I have followed and I like the fact that there has never been one star of the show and that every rider has an equal chance to shine. I also like how they don’t confine themselves to one discipline and the addition of the BOBC charity adds that additional fresh way of thinking and promoting women’s cycling.”

“I like the club to professional pathway that is on offer here too, the whole racing infrastructure can be confusing and consuming [as to what is best to focus on in order to reach the next level], so having this pathway makes racing more accessible to those who have started slightly later in the day.”

Bethany Taylor is moving in to her first year as an under 23 in January but has already raced in the UK women’s peloton as a junior and so knows what the racing is like and how she would like to progress to being a professional in the future. She spoke of her decision to join the Scholarship programme when she said, “I joined to work in the friendly environment that has been created and have the benefit of riding with top class riders I see as role models, the pathway is a great idea to bring more riders through to professional level at a pace that is right for the individual.”

Across the whole scholarship team there is a superb range of skills and strengths and plenty of room for additional improvement. All the riders have been identified as strong team players, willing to get stuck in and create opportunities for each other as well as knowing when to take the initiative themselves.


To start the process of bringing this brand new group of riders together they will attend a training camp in Lanzarote in December which also coincides with the professional team being on the island. The Scholarship riders will be housed completely separately to the professional team to ensure everyone has the opportunity to work in their own team environments as a priority but there will be key opportunities when the groups can merge, either on the road or off the bike for mentoring sessions.

Barney Storey summed up the situation, “We are conscious to ensure the Scholarship riders have their own identity so we have the two teams training in the same location but staying apart to promote this from the beginning. The Scholarship riders will get to see first-hand what it takes to be a professional but they won’t be overwhelmed or expected to skip a vital stage of their development. We can bring in key people to the Scholarship housing, such as their bike sponsors, and ensure they get the right start to this new phase of their cycling.”

“We are also fortunate to have the support of some incredible staff to help facilitate the ethos we are creating. Everyone is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the six women on the Scholarship Programme and is looking forward to seeing them head up the racing side of the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club.”

The Cycling Club itself will be open to general membership from January 1st, 2016, with riders who wish to join being able to sign up in advance after the official launch of the club on November 25th. More details will follow.

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