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Staffordshire cycling trio delight at Commonwealths call

A trio of Staffordshire cyclists have been selected in England’s team for the Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games

Dan Bigham, Hayden Norris and Josie Nelson were yesterday confirmed in the 35-strong group which will be led by five-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny.

Bigham, who lives in Stone, is a former national champion who claimed a bronze medal at the 2019 world road championships.

For 19-year-old Norris and 20-year-old Nelson, both former members of Lichfield City Cycling Club, the Games will be the biggest event so far of their young careers.

“It is an enormous sense of pride,” Norris, from Stafford, told the Express & Star. “I had earmarked the Games a long way out but I never thought I would be here and selected for it.

“It was a long-term aim, to shoot for the stars. To see it come to fruition gives me a huge sense of pride. A lot of work has gone into it so I am just glad it has paid off.”

While Bigham and Norris will race on the velodrome in London, Nelson will compete in the road race, which takes place in Warwickshire on August 7.

“It has been my dream since I’ve been competing to be chosen for the Commonwealth Games,” she said. “I can’t wait for the event.

“I felt it was 50/50 whether I would be selected because I am quite a young rider. I wasn’t sure at all.

“After I found out I wasn’t able to tell many people before today’s announcement. My close family knew. When I got the email it was only my sister at home. My mum was at Tesco, I rang her up in and she was stood in the aisle shaking because she was so proud.”

Shropshire’s Grace Lister, a former member of Wolverhampton Wheelers CC, has also been selected for the track events, which take place in London between Friday, July 29 and Monday, August 1.

The mountain bikers will then compete at Cannock Chase Forest on Wednesday, August 3, with the time trials which start and finish at Wolverhampton’s West Park taking place the following day.

Kenny is comfortably the most decorated member of an England team which also Olympic Omnium champion Matt Walls, Tokyo 2020 silver medallist and world omnium champion Ethan Hayter, Paralympic silver medallist and road world champion Sophie Unwin and mountain bike world champion Evie Richards.

“I cannot wait to get on my bike again at the Commonwealth Games for Team England,” said Kenny. “There’s nothing better than going out on track in front of a home Games crowd...especially at the Lee Valley VeloPark; a place with one or two happy memories for me.”

Team England chef de mission, Mark England, said: “Cycling is always a crowd favourite and is a sport that we have rich heritage in as a nation.

“As such, it is an honour to welcome such a talented group of athletes to Team England for the home Games this summer.”

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