Huw Buck Jones:
Huw has been competing in cycling since he was just seven years old, and was introduced to the Welsh Mountain Bike Series at the age of eleven. He has represented Great Britain on both the European and World stage, and is currently riding for the Wales Racing Academy.
Having represented Welsh Cycling at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, Huw competed in the Mountain Bike Cross-Country U23s event against some of the top riders in the sport. Huw said “It was quite good, all the crowds as well – it was just a great experience. Every time we went through, especially the rock section the crowd was mega, it was special. I think they pushed me on more and it was a great event to be a part of.”
SD Team is a proud long-standing supporter of the Wales Racing Academy after sponsoring Welsh Cycling for the past eight years. SD has enabled the team to broaden their opportunities for athletes in training and in preparing for competitions across road and track.
Nick Jones, Managing Director of SD, added: “The whole team is delighted for Amy and Huw and we just want to congratulate them on their amazing achievements. They took on some of the toughest competitors out there, and it’s inspiring to see them be a part of such a remarkable event. They did Welsh Cycling proud.”
Para-cyclist James Ball won Wales’ first medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a silver in the men’s tandem B 1,000m time trial. Along with pilot Matt Rotherham, the pair finished behind Scotland’s Neil Fachie on day one of the Games.
James would also go on to win Wales’ first gold of the competition with victory in the tandem sprint. He and partner Matt stamped their authority from the qualifying stage when they clocked 9.851 in a flying lap, going on to claim a maiden gold.
Day one was a success all round with trio Rhian Edmunds, Emma Finucane and Lowri Thomas (of Wales Racing Academy) working together to win bronze in the women’s team sprint, clocking 47.767 seconds to pip Australia for a place on the podium by more than three tenths of a second.
On day two, Carmarthen cyclist Emma Finucane revelled in beating English rivals en route to her second medal of the Commonwealth Games. She beat GB star Sophie Capewell in a best-of-three straight-up sprint to take a bronze medal at Lee Valley VeloPark.
Day three saw Swansea rider Eluned King bag points race bronze in the women’s 25km, picking up 32 points in intermediate sprints to pip Canada’s Maggie Coles-Lyster to the podium for her maiden major international medal.
In the final race of the third day, Wales Racing Academy alum Will Roberts got in the right move at the right time which resulted in a bronze medal in the men’s scratch race. Will has been on the Welsh Cycling performance pathway since his teens and this competition was the result of over 10 years of hard work.
And finally, Geraint Thomas took home a bronze medal after an early crash sadly interfered with his chances of gold in the men’s individual time trial. His eagerly anticipated duel with Aussie, and eventual gold medallist, Rohan Dennis was over within two minutes when Thomas misjudged an early corner and clipped the barriers, which sent him tumbling to the tarmac. It cost him around 30 seconds but, remarkably, he was second when he went through the first time check at just under nine kilometres, trailing leader Dennis by around 30 seconds, eventually claiming bronze.
Overall, a fantastic performance from the Welsh Cycling team and we are so proud to be a part of their journey to the Games.
The purpose of Wales Racing Academy was to develop riders so they can realise their potential on the bike and give them an environment to excel and to perform on the biggest of platforms.
It’s thrilling to see that academy has played a vital role in helping ten athletes represent Team Wales in one of the world’s most renowned sporting competitions.
A huge well done to all the medal winners and particularly to Will Roberts, Steff Lloyd, Nia Holt, Lowri Thomas, Harvey McNaughton, Alex Pope, Amy Cole, Anna Morris, Joe Holt, and Ellie Coster on representing Wales Racing Academy on one of the biggest stages in sport.
Find out more about SD’s work with Welsh Cycling here.
Photo of Will Roberts courtesy of SW Pix.
Welsh Wolfpack a group of four friends cycling from the Welsh capital to Belgium on a fundraising mission. ‘The Wolfpack’ includes Natasha Marke-Jones, Sophie Clayton, Carys Tucker and Lisa Daley – all former and current Welsh Hockey Players who between them have achieved 250 International caps.
Ready to take on their next challenge, they have swapped out carbon sticks for carbon frames! As newbies to the cycling world, the Wolfpack have been hitting the roads of South Wales to get in the necessary training and will be leaving the Sport Wales National Centre on Saturday 17th August to cycle over 400 miles to Antwerp.
They have chosen to cycle for Ty Hafan because it is a charity close to the heart of former Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan and his family. Dan’s son Felix is a very happy and cheeky 7 year old with the very rare brain disorder Lissencephaly and Miller-Dieker Syndrome.
The support that Ty Hafan gives to Dan and his family, and many others is truly invaluable. However, the team were taken aback to hear that the cost of running the hospice is over £12,000 a day, and so they wanted to do something that would help the charity with its costs.
Nick Jones, Managing Director at SD teams said: “This is such a fantastic challenge to take on and we are thrilled to be supporting the Wolfpack as they begin their long journey to Antwerp. SD has always been an avid supporter of cycling in Wales and it’s great to see more and more people using the sport to raise awareness of the causes that mean so much to them.
“Having our head offices based in Caldicot, we know Ty Hafan and the brilliant work that they do very well and we’re proud not just to be supporting these cyclists but also to be a part of a fundraising journey that helps out such a worthy cause. We wish the Welsh Wolfpack all the very best of luck!”
If you’d like to donate to the Welsh Wolfpack, visit their JustGiving page here.
This month, Welsh Cycling have been looking back at the last year for Wales Racing Academy and we are delighted that the support of SD teams has had an impact on their journey.
Being an avid follower of cycling in Wales, we first got involved with Welsh Cycling back in 2015 and from there the partnership has continued to develop in strength. Having supported individual athletes in the past, we are so aware of the sacrifices, hard-work and determination that this sport demands of its athletes.
Read more about our role with Wales Racing Academy in British Gymnastics this month:
The route features four gruelling category one climbs, 10 category two ascents plus 20 third category slopes, and pitch specialist climbers against all-rounders.
Academy Coach Rob Partridge said: “This race will be the first time that the riders will have competed in a competition of this length before, so it’ll be a great challenge for them.
“The academy have been training hard since late last year, and have made great progress in high level competitions, such as the spring cup series, which has seen many of the riders in breakaways.
“They have put in the hard miles, and train together as a group a couple of times a week.
“8 stages brings 8 opportunity to show what they can do, both physically and mentally and I’m looking forward to supporting them along the way and seeing how they get on”.
The academy recently competed in round 1 of the Tour Series at Redditch, as well as Lincoln Grand Prix.
Stage 1, Sunday May 20: Drogheda to Athlone, 136 kms:
Stage 2, Monday May 21: Athlone to Tipperary, 148.7 kms:
Stage 3, Tuesday May 22: Tipperary to Listowel, 140.4 kms:
Stage 4, Wednesday May 23: Listowel to Glengariff, 153 kms:
Stage 5, Thursday May 24: Glengarriff to Mitchelstown, 150.2 kms:
Stage 6, Friday May 25: Mitchelstown to Carlow, 154.6 kms:
Stage 7, Saturday May 26: Carlow to Naas, 141.2 kms:
Stage 8, Sunday May 27: Naas to Skerries, 144.6 kms:
Follow the academy:
About the academy:
The new academy, titled ‘Wales Racing Academy’ has introduced a pathway leading on from their Existing Youth and Junior programmes.
Head Coach at Welsh Cycling, Darren Tudor said: “The new partnership with SD teams has given us the scope to continue working with our riders to help them progress in their cycling careers.
“Although new as a partner, we have built up a strong relationship with SD teams over many years, which has seen them support and fund many of our individual athletes and their specific training needs.
“Their contribution helped many of our athletes reach their goals and progress within the industry and in some cases, to some of the top professional teams in the world.
“We are so grateful for all the support and backing we’ve had for them.
“We are really pleased that they’d like to play such a large part in our new academy and look forward to working even closer with them.”
Rob Partridge, who will be running the newly launched academy added: “Thanks to companies like SD teams, we are able to further develop home grown talent, and give our athletes the opportunities and support required to compete in higher profile races, such as the Spring Cup Series and Tour Series.”
Nick Jones, SD teams Managing Director said: “We’re incredibly proud to be supporting the new Wales Racing Academy.
“SD teams has always been an avid follower of cycling in Wales and having supported individual athletes in the past, we know just how much hard work and determination these young cyclists dedicate to the sport.
“It’s an honour to be working with such a talented team of riders this year, and we hope that our support can help not only with training opportunities and competitions, but with helping these athletes to develop within the industry and go on to have successful careers in cycling.”
The academy kit has been designed and produced by partner Primal Europe; who have helped provide a distinctive identity for the academy, which has been reflected across all assets including the academy car which has been provided by Capitol Skoda.
James Smith, Director at Primal said: “As a Welshman the opportunity to be involved with the development of young professional Welsh Cyclists was too good an opportunity to miss.
“The guys are the perfect platform to test our PRIMAL Helix kit, we all look forward to watching them race throughout 2018.”
The team have recently competed in the Cicle Classic, and currently preparing for round 2 of the Spring Cup Series, the Klondike GP where they’ll represent the academy on Sunday 29th April.
The team at SD teams are very proud to have supported Scott for the last few years, and so we took a moment to chat to him in the run up to what looks to be a very exciting year.
First of all, congratulations on going pro! What made you want to take on cycling professionally?
I decided to pursue cycling full-time towards the end of 2013. I had to make the choice between applying for university and seeing where cycling would take me, and looking back, I made the right decision. It’s been a tough journey to be able to sign my first professional contract, especially after four years of hard work and with some ups and downs, but winning a race makes it all worthwhile!
And you’ve previously been cycling for Team Wiggins – how was that experience?
I joined Team Wiggins in 2016 after being a part of British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Programme. WIGGINS is an U23 development team who race a lot on the continent, so it seemed like a great opportunity. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the team – there’s a really nice atmosphere within WIGGINS and a great racing calendar too.
What has been your proudest moment throughout this journey?
There have been plenty of great memories over the last few years. Going to the Commonwealth Games back in 2014 was an amazing experience and something that I’m very proud of, as was winning four consecutive U23 National TT titles. My highlight from the 2017 season was finishing 4th overall in the U23 Tour of Italy.
Some huge achievements there! Have there been any challenges along the way?
There have been plenty of challenges – crashes, illness and injury always make things difficult, but it’s all a part of the job and it’s completely worth it in the end.
What are the preparations going to be like going into next year?
I’m currently having a break and will start my preparations for the 2018 season in a few weeks, so it’ll be mainly cycling with some training in the gym as well. I find that the winter is a really important period for me to build up my fitness and give myself a good foundation for success during the season.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
I’ll start training again in the next few weeks, and I’ve got my first training camp with Team Dimension Data next month, so I’m looking forward to that.
For the time being, I’m not sure what my race programme will look like for next season. Fingers crossed that I’ll be selected for the next Commonwealth Games and get another shot at winning a medal!
You’ve got everyone at SD behind you. Congratulations again and best of luck with the next season!
To read more about Scott’s journey so far, click here.