Cycling star Ryan Hutchinson has made a sensational switch from riding BMX races to track sprint.
Last month Hutchinson, 18, from Thurlby, near Bourne, was named as one of 29 riders in British Cycling’s new Senior Academy programme.
The squad represents all of Olympic cycling disciplines with Tokyo 2020 a target for the young squad.
The former Bourne Academy and New Stamford College pupil had been mixing it with the best in the country in BMX racing at junior age groups but as he progressed to senior levels he was struggling to stay competitive.
BMX racing is style of bicycle motocross, with multiple riders competing for first place on specifically-designed dirt track, one-lap tracks that feature rollers, berms and jumps.
The sport requires significant power outputs to be successful, which the British Cycling coaches recognised could make Hutchinson a star on the track.
After successfully completing a trial Hutchinson was offered a full time contract as professional cyclist, moved to Manchester, the home of British Cycling, and is now surrounded by one of the best teams in the world, training on a daily basis on the track and in the gym.
He was named as one of five sprint riders in the squad, along with Sophie Capewell, Jack Carlin, Alex Jolliffe and Joe Truman.
Hutchinson’s first week included an intensive three-day boot camp covering a range of off the bike subjects, such as anti-doping, nutrition, social media and health and hygiene to aid in his development to becoming a world class rider.
With the switch from BMX to track being such a change, Hutchinson is in the early stages of competing and has very little experience compared to his colleagues who have been competing for years.
He must now hit targets and continue his progression free from injury with the hope of one day making the Olympic Podium squad.
Performance Pathway manager Ian Yates said to British Cycling: “With yet another successful Olympic Games behind us, the performance focus has switched to Tokyo 2020 and within this Senior Academy squad I believe we have some real potential to maintain our Olympic success across the board for the next couple of cycles.
“Our primary aim is to turn these talented young athletes into race winners but we recognize that this involves giving them opportunities to develop off the bike too.
“It’s about readying them for the year ahead as the jump to becoming a full-time athlete is a big step. We also strive to provide these learning opportunities at other points throughout the year too, so all our riders will get the opportunity to undertake their coaching awards and learn a new language that might help them when living and racing abroad.
“We are confident the squad we have selected contain the stars of the future and I’m looking forward to supporting them on the Senior Academy stage of their journey.”