SARAH STOREY British, 1977
11 Paralympic gold medals in track cycling
Sarah Storey began her sports career at the age of 14 with swimming, until the Paralympic Games where she won 4 gold medals. She stopped her swimming career because of ear problems. She switched to cycling in 2005 and joined the national disabled cycling team. One year later she broke the world record for the individual pursuit of three kilometers in para-cycling. She is now the most successful British para-athlete (she was born with a deformity that makes her left hand unusable) of all time: 14 Paralympic gold medals including swimming. She has become a reference in women's para-cycling but also in events for the non-disabled. At the London Paralympic Games, Sarah came close to winning gold in all four of her events: the 500m time trial, the individual pursuit, the road race and the time trial. Today, she and her husband run Storey Racing, a women's cycling team whose motto is #BestVersionOfYou. "It's about providing girls with opportunities to move forward"
"I'd love to see them win a bike race at UCI level. I want to get stuck into the team time trial world and see where we can pitch ourselves."As an advocate of British cycling policy, Sarah notes that the roads are not designed to help children get on their bikes. "I'd like cycling to be truly considered into the education system so it's a priority for our children." She also has a role within the Sheffield City Council area in making her ambitious transport vision a reality. Sarah is the first Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region. If you would like to find out more about Active Travel it's here. Sarah successfully combines motherhood and running. She is in preparation for the Tokyo Paralympic Games (now postponed to August 2021).
You can follow Sarah on Instagram @damesarahstorey
****JENNY GRAHAM Scottish, 1981
Fastest woman to circumnavigate the world by bike, Jenny started biking in 2004 and her thing is ultra-distance and bike trips. And in 2017 she gets a scholarship from The Adventure Syndicate which is a collective of women endurance cyclists. This scholarship and her meetings in this syndicate (which directly saw her great potential) allowed her to do races like the Arizona Trail Race. In addition to the races, she likes to do tourism with her mountain bike, in the Alps, the Pyrenees, and Romania for example. She also enjoys walking at high altitudes, climbing 4000-meter peaks, and sleeping in mountain huts or (lower) under the stars. Today she is the co-director of The Adventure Syndicate and gives conferences on her adventures around the world. Yes, in 2018, Jenny Graham broke the women's world cycling record! (held by the Italian cyclist Paola Gianotti), Jenny achieved it in 124 days. It is a Guinness World Record. Her feat also helped launch Guinness World Records Day, which encourages people to go out on an adventure and become (perhaps ) another record holder woman. Focus on her round-the-world record:
"There wasn't ever a day I felt like giving up. Once I started I was on it, I was always going to carry on in this journey." A journey of 18,000 miles across 4 continents and 15 countries. If you want to know more about his adventure it's here and French version here and the video is here
You can also follow her on her Instagram: @jennygrahamis_
*****MARIANNE VOS Dutch, 1987
Qualified as the best cyclist of her generation, Marianne accumulates victories in road racing, track racing, mountain bike racing, and cyclo-cross.
To sum up:
- 3 times world champion in road racing.
- 7 times cyclo-cross world champion
- 3 times Giro Rosa champion
- 19 wins in 2019
Marianne started cycling at the age of 6 and started training with her brother's team and then went on to fly on her own. She wins her first cyclo-cross and road world championships at 19 years old. And at 21 years old she was the first cyclist to be crowned world champion in all three disciplines: road, track, and cyclo-cross. She likes to reach her goals: "I love that feeling when everything works. You have completed your training, you are well prepared and you can do what you plan to do". In 2004, when she won her first rainbow jersey, she tried her luck at a professional cycling career when at that time there were not many girls who became full-time professionals. She says in an interview: "I couldn't wish for a better life, my passion is my career and I have the opportunity to really change something in women cycling. I love racing, I love training, I love inspiring and crucially I still love riding my bike!" She ends her career on a high note: "I didn't want to end my career with too much training. I wanted to end my career at the top of my game, and that was the only reason for me." As ambassador for women's cycling, her dream is to make cycling more accessible and popular for women. At the same time, she is also an ambassador for "Jeugdfondssportencultuur": a Dutch charity organization that helps children from poor families to join sports clubs or cultural activities. She is also involved in the organization "Youth United for Sri Lanka".
Watch a video about Marianne Vos: here To follow his daily life in cycling and in his everyday life on Instagram: @mariannevosofficial
*****ARLENIS SIERRA Cuban 1992
Arlenis Sierra is a track and road cyclist. She started cycling at the age of 11 to channel her boundless energy. Pushed by her father, she enrolled in a small sports center in her village (Manzanillo, Cuba). So she grew up in Cuba, a country where the prospects of a cycling career are hard to imagine, if not unimaginable. Cuba lacks infrastructures, bicycles, and a budget dedicated to the organization of races or the remuneration of riders. But she has a very good memory of her face: "I was perfectly happy. I wasn't really thinking about the future. People would call me 'poor', but I realized that if I wasn't so well off, then there were always people who were worse off." (quotes from her interview with Procycling)
At only 19 years old, she won the race at the 2011 Pan-American Games. In 2016, the president of the Cuban Cycling Federation brought her to Switzerland to do a development course for promising riders. This allowed her to discover a new approach to cycling, different from her country of origin. In 2017 she leaves Cuba for good (but not forever) to start her career as a professional cyclist in Europe, in Italy to be exact.
During the same year, Arlenis came second in the Trofeo: the biggest success of her career. An emblematic photo has immortalized this moment: we see Arlenis very happy as if she had won the race. She says: "Everyone was asking me why I raised my arms when I finished second. I know full well I didn't win! I did it because of the emotion that came over me" Sierra tells Procycling. "Lots of people said to me, 'You don't celebrate second place,' and that annoyed me a bit. "Who are they to say what I should or shouldn't be happy with?" Most recently in 2018, she won the Tour of Guangxi in China. Today she is far from having finished her career! "Becoming world champion is a dream. I think it's a dream of all cyclists, all athletes. I'm going to fight for it, but it's not something I'm going to get hung up about," Sierra says. You can follow Arlenis on Instagram @arlenissierracanadilla