As the eyes of the world focus on British cycling following Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France success, Eastbourne youngster Sam Stean is celebrating his own astounding achievements on two-wheels.
The 17-year-old mountain biker has enjoyed a fantastic week after becoming the UK number one on the back of victory in the Junior National Championships last weekend.
These latest accomplishments are another step on the ladder as Sam continues his rise to the top, with the ambition of following in Wiggins’ tracks and competing in the prestigious Tour de France in the future.
Just a couple of months ago, Sam became Southern Champion in the Junior race category and, on July, 22, rode to glory in Wasing Park in Berkshire to be crowned National Champion too.
He overcame the challenge of 33 other competitors to cross the line in first place with a time of 1h13m40s, despite many of the riders being a year older than him.
Following on from his success, Sam will now wear the National Championship jersey in all of his races this year.
It was a momentous achievement for the youngster as it moved him from third place in the British Cycling Association rankings to the top spot.
It now looks likely that Sam will be selected to race in the World Cup series, which takes place across Europe and America next year.
Proud father John said, “Sam competes in various tournaments across the country pretty much every weekend, there’s a lot of travelling involved.
“He works really hard. He trains all the time, normally he’s out practising on his bike for two hours every day.
“He has a coach, David Trunkfield, who’s great and gives him training programmes to follow throughout the week.
“This isn’t just a hobby for Sam, it’s his career. He watches all the cycling on the TV and he’ll definitely be watching it in the Olympics. It’s his ambition to ride in the Tour de France.”
Sam, who will continue to be a first-year junior until he turns 18 next May, has been competing for around three years alongside his younger brother, Oliver.
In what is a very risky sport, the danger of picking up an injury is never too far away for any of the competitors, who have to manoeuvre their bikes over very rough and rocky terrain.
John said, “Just last weekend, the start of the race was delayed by 15 minutes because someone had hurt themselves in the race before.
“It can be very dangerous.”
Sam will next be in competitive action in the annual winter racing events, where he hopes to continue his dominance in the junior category and retain the sought-after number one spot.
ABOVE: Sam Stean