27 July 2023

TRAIL BLAZERS: introducing the British names making cycling history

Find out more about these British names who are making cycling history throughout the years.

Cyclists celebrating a medal

The following article is taken from the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Official Programme.

The fighter


"I'm fighting for all those people that are in this position and feel like there is nothing to fight for"

Record-breaking Paralympian and Leeds lass Kadeena Cox was an avid athlete from a young age. After a stroke led to her being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014, Kadeena was determined to continue a career in sport. She managed to secure a place at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, competing not only as a para-athlete, but also a para-cyclist. It was here that she became a household name, winning golds on the running and cycling tracks, and becoming the first British athlete to win golds in multiple sports at the same Games since Isabel Barr at the 1984 Paralympics.
From there, Kadeena's star has continued to rise. As well as winning a haul of UCI golds, she retained her Time Trial title at the Tokyo Paralympics, casually breaking the world record in the process. Her phenomenal success is an inspiration to so many young people facing challenges in sport - and life - whether it be due to their health, their gender, or the colour of their skin.

The triple threat


"Someone is always gonna come along and try to be better. People set a benchmark and it's there to be beaten"

Multi-talented Brit Tom Pidcock doesn't just compete in more than one cycling discipline, he wins in them all too. After a prodigious Junior and Under career with UCI World Championship victories in cyclo-cross mountain bike and road racing, the Yorkshire lad turned pro in 2021.
Since then, he has racked up victories at the 2020 Summer Olympics, the 2022 Cyclo-cross World Championships, and the prestigious road race Strade Bianche in 2023. He tackled his first Tour de France in 2022 winning solo on the climb of the iconic Alpe d'Huez, the youngest rider ever to do so.
One of the brightest stars on the cycling scene, Tom clearly has a long and glittering career ahead of him. Hold on tight because we have a feeling the ride has only just begun.

The prodigy


"It's useful having a cycling family as my background, but I put a lot of hard work into my riding, training and racing"

With five world titles in the bag at just 18 years old, Welsh road racing cyclist Zoe Bäckstedt is something of a cycling prodigy. In 2021, she kicked off her UCI medal collection with one gold (Junior Women Road Race) and one silver (Junior Women Individual Time Trial), before upgrading the silver for a gold in 2022, and retaining her title on the road. She also competes in track and Cyclo-cross, and is reigning world junior champ in Cyclo-cross and the Madison.
It should perhaps come as no surprise that riding is in Zoe's blood. Her mother Megan Hughes and father Magnus Bäckstedt (2004 Paris-Roubaix winner) are both former pros, and her sister Elynor also rides professionally. Not that her racing relatives should take away from her remarkable talent. Zoe is one of the most dedicated and disciplined riders on the road. As you'll no doubt see for yourself.

The whirlwind


"There's always a way forward. See a challenge as an opportunity"
You might not expect a UCI World Champion para-cyclist to start out in American Football but current men's C1 1km Time Trial star Sam Ruddock began his sporting career as a linebacker. Born with cerebral palsy, Sam was the only player with a disability in the whole British University League.
In his final year, a coach saw his potential as an athlete and, despite his initial anxiety about going into a new sport, Sam was on the GB Paralympic Athletics team within months, running the 100m and 200m races at London 2012. Sam switched from sprinting to shot put soon after, competing in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
It was 2019 before the multi-talented sportsman joined the Great Britain Cycling Team, going on to win the Kilo time trial title at the 2022 UCI Para- cycling Track World Championships. Never one to stay still for long, you'd be well advised to catch this non-stop star while you have the chance. Blink and you might miss him.

The star on the rise


"Having the opportunity to compete in a UCI World Championships in front of a home crowd would be an incredible experience, and it would be a dream come true to pull on a rainbow jersey"
Young Scottish mountain biker Charlie Aldridge became a UCI Junior World
Champion in 2019, when he won gold in
the junior Cross-country competition at the UCI Mountain Bike Worlds in Canada. His second title came three years later when he won the British National Championships at Cannock Chase.
That course was not so kind when he returned there for the Commonwealth Games later in the year. Despite being on track for a medal, a crash on the penultimate lap pushed him into 16th place. Since then, Crieff-based Charlie's luck has returned and he has taken medals at the European Continental Championships XCO Under 23 race and the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
2023 marks the final year he will be competing in the Under 23 category, and as he comes of age, the supportive home crowd will be wishing him the smoothest of rides on the very bumpy course at Tweed Valley.

The Great Scot


"There's another gear when the threat of your goals being taken away from you is dangled there"
A superstar on the track, Glasgow girl Katie Archibald has more than 50 medals from
across Olympic and Commonwealth Games, World and European Championships and UCI Track World Cup meetings. 38 of them are gold. It's an amazing number for any rider, even more so when you realise Katie only started riding aged 17, when she switched from swimming.
But it hasn't all been smooth riding. Katie was forced to withdraw from the 2022 Commonwealth Games after she suffered a string of injuries and was hit by a car, all while recovering from shoulder surgery. Tragically, the next month she lost her partner, mountain biker Rab Wardell, to a sudden cardiac arrest.
Showing her resilience and strength, Katie was back in prime position for the UEC European Track Championships in February 2023, taking golds in the Madison, Omnium and Team Pursuit. Buoyed by the home crowd at the velodrome in Glasgow, this invincible rider will surely achieve even greater things at the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds.

The low key king


"Just riding my bike day in and day out is a highlight for me, but the biggest high would have to be getting 10 UCI World Titles"
Yorkshire's Jack Carthy has won an astounding 10 UCI World Titles and is the reigning UCI World Trials Champion on 26-inch wheels. Ranked 3rd in the world at just 15, he is no newbie to the sport, yet you may not have heard his name much. We predict that is all about to change.
In the spirit of putting something back into the sport, Jack has recently formed the Carthy Academy to help young riders get a foothold on the trials scene. Hopefully his efforts will also bring more attention to the oft-overlooked cycling discipline, and some well-deserved headlines for his own epic talent.
It's almost a given that Jack will add to his haul at the Championships, but can he take the crown again? We'll be heading to Glasgow Green to find out and, if you've yet to see this unsung hero in action, we suggest you do the same.

The superstar


"I would want to be able to say that I was the best ever female BMX Racing athlete, and that's quite a big statement"
BMX racer Beth Shriever started riding when she was just eight years old at her local club in Braintree, Essex. 14 years later, the insanely talented rider took both the Olympic and World titles, equalling the feat of Colombian legend Mariana Pajón. The following year, Beth completed the full set of gold medals by winning the 2022 UEC BMX Racing European Championships, and becoming the first BMX Racing cyclist in history to hold all three titles simultaneously. She was also awarded an MBE - no biggie!
Beth's amazing achievements - coupled with her cool as a cucumber attitude - will undoubtedly inspire many more young women to get on a BMX. And what could be cooler than that?
We'd be inclined to agree with swaggering singer Liam Gallagher who tweeted his congratulations after the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, saying, "Bethany Shriever - what a ledge. Well done." A legend at just 24. That's quite something.