Celebrating our homegrown international cycling heroes on St.David’s day

St. David’s day gives us an excuse (like we need one) to celebrate the cycling champions who have helped to put Wales on the world cycling map.

We have compiled a few of the cyclists who have won senior World or Olympic titles over the years and played a vital role in increasing the popularity and success the current and upcoming crop of riders are enjoying today.

Click the links to find out more about each of these heroes shortlisted below, and visit our Twitter account on the hour from 9am on St. Davids day to show your appreciation to the athletes, then join the live poll which will run from 8-9pm as you decide who is the greatest Welsh rider from the riders who have received the highest number of likes.

Martyn Ashton – Hails from Port Talbot and is a former World Expert Trials champion and true pioneer of Trials cycling and hero of the Mountain Biking community. Martyn has gained worldwide popularity through the incredible Road Bike Party video series demonstrating just what is possible on a road bike and with a bit of skill. Martyn is currently supporting pioneering work and technology designed to help people living with a disability continue to engage in cycling.

James Ball – Born in Ponthir the visually impaired track sprinter who first tasted success by winning double gold at the world paracycling championships in 2017 and continues to go from strength to strength as we head towards the summer’s Paralympic games.

Elinor Barker – Cardiff Born track cycling legend who has won multiple World, Olympic, Commonwealth and European titles in a range of endurance event. A resilient rider who first tasted World success at the first time of asking in the 2013 women’s team pursuit squad has had much to overcome in her glittering carer including living with endometriosis.

Manon Carpenter- When you hail from Caerphilly and with a Mountain on your doorstep it was no surprise that Manon shot to fame as World downhill champion. A glittering career included the impressive feet of winning the Junior world title and world cup series in 2011, Manon stepped up to the senior ranks and repeated the effort in 2014. 

Nicole Cooke – Growing up in the Vale of Glamorgan Nicole is a true pioneer of Welsh Cycling breaking the ground for other welsh cyclists to follow. A true allrounder Nicole has represented and won major titles on Track, off-road and most notably the Road becoming the first Welsh rider to win Olympic gold as well as the first welsh rider to win a national road tour. A rider who really has won everything there is to win in international cycling dominating women’s road cycling scene for a number of years and as acted as the inspiration for generations to follow.

Mark Colbourne – Tredegar’s Paracycling champion broke his back in 2009 following a paragliding accident. Just one year after the accident he took up the challenge of cycling and went on to win his first medal a year later at the world championships in Denmark. It was 2012 that Mark struck Gold first at the World championships in the pursuit before adding Paralympic gold in the same event in the London Games breaking the world record along the way.

Louise Jones – Became a legend in Welsh sport as she became the winner of the track sprint title when women’s cycling was integrated into the Commonwealth games held in Auckland in 1990 helping to lead the way for future Welsh Commonwealth champions like Nicole Cooke and Elinor Barker.

Ben Mould – In 2019 Ben, from Newport broke new ground by becoming the first Welsh rider to claim the world title in Poland whilst balancing training and a full time night job. The global pandemic has meant that Ben has been unable to defend the title so remains the world’s top rider.

Rebecca James – Abergavenny’s “Becky” James dominated Track sprint cycling at the 2013 World Championships taking 2 world titles and 2 additional medals during an impressive championship for the young rider. James had a rapid rise to the top in a career that was blighted by injury and illness which looked to threaten her career due to a knee injury, but she came back in 2016 to take 2 silver medals at the Olympic games in Rio.

Simon Richardson – Porthcawl born Simon picked cycling back up in 2001 following a car accident which left him with serious leg and back injuries. Simon competed in Beijing at the 2008 Paralympics taking the world record in the Kilo event on the track and securing the gold medal before taking a second gold in the individual pursuit event and then adding a silver medal in the road time trial event.

Geraint Thomas – Cardiff’s famous cycling son has progressed through the ranks winning World and Olympic titles on the Velodrome before successfully transferring onto the road to become the first Welshman to win The Tour de France in 2018 and narrowly missing out a year later to finish runner up. G also has the honour of course of having our home and National velodrome renamed in his honour.

We would also like to pay tribute to all the volunteers and clubs here in Wales who have played such a vital role in the developments of these world beating athletes and continue to support tomorrow’s champions today.

Diolch yn fawr, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus