The next generation of Olympic cyclists are starting to emerge from a team that was set up to produce the new Sir Bradley Wiggins or Sir Chris Hoy.
In early 2011 Velocity, which is based at the Manchester Velodrome was launched with significant support from WD-40 Multi-Use Product who, along with other sponsors, wanted to provide young cyclists with a platform to become Olympic gold medalists of the future.
The team, named Velocity WD-40, is now reaping the rewards with three riders selected for Olympic Development programmes and another joining a professional team in Belgium for 2014.
Matt Gibson from Lymm, who represented Great Britain in the World Junior Championships in September, will continue in the Olympic Development Programme for the second year.
He will be joined in the Olympic support system by Reece Wood and Matthew Walls from Oldham, who have both been selected for the Olympic Talent Team – for 14 to 16-year-olds.
The duo, who won a bronze medal in the Madison at the recent national track championships, are among six endurance riders selected for the Talent Team.
In addition Andy Leigh, from Urmston is joining a Belgian professional team for the 2014 season.
“It’s fantastic to see these young riders progressing to this level and pleasing that Velocity WD-40 has played such a key role in them getting there,” said Phil Braybrooke, one of the founders of Velocity WD-40.
“They all thoroughly deserve their places and we’re looking forward to seeing how they continue to progress in 2014.
“The Velocity WD-40 team is packed with talent and I’m sure we’ll see more riders progressing like Matt, Matthew, Andy and Reece.
“Sponsorship of the team has been vital and it’s fantastic to have WD-40 as our main sponsor along with USN, Pro-Lite, Global Bike, Pedal Precision, Return on Digital, Bio Racer, Star Balm and pOcpac.”
The trio on the Olympic programmes will receive extra training from British Cycling coaches and attend special camps every 3-4 months to help them develop.
Matt secured an excellent fifth place finish in the junior individual time trial at the World Championships and he’s delighted to be back in the Development Programme.
“Fifth place was a fantastic finish considering I was competing with people a year older than me and it’s given me extra confidence to push on to the next level,” said Matt.
“Velocity WD-40 are providing me and the other riders with a fantastic platform to get ourselves prepared for a potential professional career in cycling.
“We have a strict training programme and have events scheduled to make the most of our strengths and improve areas we need to.
“I feel very proud to be part of both Velocity WD-40 and the Olympic Development Programme and hope to continue progressing in future years.
“I’d encourage any young cyclist to think about joining Velocity WD-40 if they want to emulate Sir Bradley Wiggins or Sir Chris Hoy.”
Reece, 15, from Wakefield, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father Alistair, a former national champion and brother Oliver, who is part of the Olympic Academy.
He said: “I joined Velocity WD-40 in early 2013 and I’ve been amazed by how much I’ve progressed since then.
“Everyone works as a team and we learn all the aspects of fitness, tactical racing and being part of a team.
“It’s great to have Matthew in the Talent Team with me and I’m already looking forward to the training camps and Velocity WD-40 events in 2014.”
Matthew was the 2012 under-14 junior British Omnium champion and admitted his dream is to win gold medals for his country.
“I want to be part of a future gold medal winning British cycling team at the Olympics and this is another step on the road to achieving my dream,” said the 15-year-old.
“Watching the Olympics last year gave me an extra incentive as I want to succeed at the highest level and win races for Britain.
“I’ve been with Velocity WD-40 since 2011 and in that time I’ve become a national champion and now been selected for the Olympic Talent Team.
“It’s a great team to be part of and I’ll be working hard in the winter months to make sure I’m ready for 2014.”
Brand development manager for WD-40 Multi-Use Product, Amy Briggs, said that the lubricant specialists were delighted to be seeing riders progressing in line with the ethos of the team.
“These are hugely exciting times for cycling in the UK and it’s fantastic for WD-40 to be involved with a team packed with talented young riders with bright futures,” she said.
“To see four riders progress so far in the short time that Velocity WD-40 has been going for is a testament to the training of the coaches and skill and determination of the riders.
“We wish all four success in continuing their development in 2014 and can’t wait to see how many more youngsters follow them from Velocity Team WD-40.”