Sixteen-year-old SGS Cycling Academy rider and Welshman Josh Tarling is performing at such a high level that British Cycling are considering him for their Olympic Development programme for the Team Pursuit, and he has already been signed up by a top amateur cycling team in Belgium for the 2021 season.
Josh started cycling at the age of six, inspired by watching his dad race. What initially started out as a few hot laps around the road circuit in Shrewsbury with his dad, quickly turned into Josh becoming a racer in his own right.
Josh has been highly successful in a relatively short period. He has won the Sweden U6 Tour, finished third in the Paris-Roubaix youth race in France and is the current Youth National Time Trial Champion. His personal best for 100 miles is a staggering 3 hours 46 minutes.
Like many young riders, Josh has hopes of achieving world-class level of performance in the future. He comments:
“My aim is to ride in the spring classics, such as the San Remo in Milan and the Strada Bianchi in Italy as well as the cobbled classics in Belgium such as the Tour of Flanders. I would also like to be able to achieve stage wins in the grand tours including the Tour de France.”
SGS Cycling Academy Coach Nic Tilling believes that Josh has got what it takes to reach his goals. He said:
“Josh is obviously a talented bike rider, but he is grounded, down to earth and incredibly hard working. I knew right away that Josh has the character and mindset that propels top level performers in any field - not just sport, but his approach to cycling will have helped him to develop that mindset and attitude.”
Faculty Manager for Academic Sport and Sports Academies Alex Gaiger was instrumental in setting up and launching the SGS Cycling Academy. He added:
“We wanted to create an opportunity for young cyclists in the UK to get the level of academic input and coaching support that will enable them to focus on their training and their education simultaneously.
“Young cyclists who are aspiring to achieve greatness need support. They have heavy training commitments, travel commitments and throughout the season they might be racing around the UK and overseas. As such, it has always been challenging for young riders to maintain a focus on their education, and whether a rider becomes a professional in the future or not, they need education and qualifications. Our educational programme is a distance learning BTEC Extended Certificate in Sports Coaching and Cycling Performance. It’s a first of its kind course and as SGS College has been pioneering the use of Microsoft Teams in further education we felt perfectly positioned to be able to deliver an online programme of education and cycling coaching.”
Former international professional cyclist and British Road Race Champion Brian Smith has been keen to see the course take off as it offers an opportunity that until now has not existed anywhere else in the world. He commented:
“When I was a junior cyclist, I had no coach and no opportunity to do what these guys are doing. I had to wait until I finished school and even then, I had to endure living in very harsh accommodation in France before I could make my mark on the professional side of the sport. I did it the hard way, but it doesn’t have to be like that now. I helped to publicise this programme so that young riders got to know about this incredible opportunity.”
The next few years will be a steppingstone for Josh as he progresses through the junior and into the senior ranks. Nothing in sport is certain, but for now what is certain is that Josh is doing exactly what all aspiring junior riders need to do; working hard to achieve world class cycling performance and education.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this programme you can contact the SGS Cycling Academy Coach, Nic Tilling by sending an email to [email protected]