A Dunamanagh teenager heads off in the New Year to take a major step in his dream to become a professional cyclist.
Seventeen year-old Adam Ward has been chosen to take part in a cycling scholarship in Spain.
Adam is one of ten talented riders drawn from all over Europe who have been selected for an elite week-long training camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains in early January. Just to be selected is a fantastic achievement for Adam, who is a highly talented member of Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club.
Some of the cyclists who took part in the same camp in previous years have gone on to sign contracts with leading professional teams, including BMC and Lotto Soudal.
The scholarship is run by the cycling holiday company, Cycle Sierra Nevada and was developed as a way to give talented young cyclists an opportunity to avail of a free cycling training camp.
The aim of the scholarship is to bring together a group of young athletes from different backgrounds and nationalities with the chance to participate in a week-long training camp and, hopefully, learn from each other.
Adam will be training with other promising riders from Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Germany and the Rep of Ireland. Adam has been a member of the Omagh club for past few years. During the summer months he rides approximately 300 miles a week and his winter training is equally as tough but with a few less miles on the road.
He says he’s looking forward to participating in the early season training camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
“There’s ten very good riders signed up for this years program and it should give us a chance to stretch the legs a little on some of the longer climbs the area is famed for. Additionally there will also be guidance from a few riders from the professional team Lotto Soudal” Adam explained.
“I’ve dream’t of becoming a professional rider and I am really excited about taking part in this training camp.”
A spokesman for Cycle Sierra Nevada said: “Part of the mission of the scholarship is to help the participants learn and develop tools to become better athletes.
“However, we are not in the business of selling dreams. Cycling is an incredibly demanding sport and a life as a professional is simply unattainable for the majority. “The main emphasis of our cycling scholarship camps will not be overly competitive in nature but simply for the individuals selected to enjoy their time in Spain and to take away some positive experiences.”