Members of youth cycling group Palmer Park Velo were thrilled to host the newly crowned Junior World Sprint Champion John Paul.
John Paul's visit proved popular with the cycling group's members
John Paul, or JP as he's more often known, won the World title at the Junior World Championships in Moscow and is now setting his sights on the 2018 Olympic Games. JP took time out of his busy schedule to come back to where it all started.
Now 18, John Paul started his cycling career at Palmer Park Velo in 2005, aged 12. Inspired by the spectacle of seeing Chris Hoy winning Gold at the Athens Olympics, he asked his Dad if he could have a go and they were advised by Didcot Phoenix to head to Palmer Park Velo - the Reading-based, Go-Ride Club dedicated to developing young riders in all aspects of cycle sport.
Paying tribute to Palmer Park Velo, John Paul said: "The club is very special. I didn't know anything about bike racing before I came here. The club let me borrow a bike to get me started. It was racing here against my peers that gave me the inspiration to continuously improve."
John Paul soon started winning races at club events at Palmer Park's velodrome. Palmer Park Velo's Head Coach Andrew Pitt commented: "We could see JP was something special quite early on, he was always very focused and ready to put in the extra effort ."
After riding for his native Scotland in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, John Paul was selected for British Cycling's Olympic Development Programme. Speaking to the largest gathering of members the Palmer Park Velo has ever had - almost 100 children came to the track to meet JP on Saturday -he had these words for the children: "If you want to make it to the top you've got to love doing it- you've just got to love riding your bike."
Head Coach Andrew Pitt added: "JP is an inspiration to us all - he demonstrates what you can achieve through focus, dedication and sheer hard work. We wish JP every success in the future."
John Paul will next be in action at the 2011 National Track Championships, which take place from the 28 September - 2 October at the Manchester Velodrome.