National champ Sam impresses selectors

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Eastbourne Mountain Bike rider Sam Stean has been selected for the British Cycling Mountain Bike Olympic Development Programme (ODP).

Stean, 17, was part of a squad of eight riders chosen to receive the assistance of the ODP until November 2013.

The programme covers all Olympic disciplines: Road, Track, Mountain Biking and BMX for first and second year juniors (16 to 18 year olds).

The ODP was added to the GB development structure in 2005. Endurance riders have the chance to race in Europe and similar opportunities are being created for other groups in the programme.

Stean enjoyed a fantastic 2012 after he became the UK number-one on the back of victory in the Junior National Championships in July.

The accomplishment proved another step on the ladder as he continues his rise to the top.

Earlier in 2012 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.

The ODP provides riders with the support they need to become world class athletes. They have access to a network of support which is shared across cycling’s Olympic Programmes. Whether it is advice on sports science, nutrition, injuries, or recovering from an illness, the Olympic Programmes have the best possible advice available.

A statement from the British Cycling said, “What the coaches are looking for in athletes is a strong work ethic, self-discipline, commitment and skill. Sheer physical ability is not enough on its own.

“The willingness to work on weaknesses and an open mind to advice and coaching are essential.

“As well as progressing riders to the Academy Programme, the ODP’s goals are also to win medals at major championships such as the European or Junior World Championships.”

Sam’s younger brother Oliver, 15, will also be competing in National and Regional events in the UK and is aiming to match Sam’s achievements over the next few years.

His father John Stean said, “Sam is working extremely hard and we are delighted he has made it into the development programme. It’s a great opportunity for him and the next aim will be to compete at the World Championships in South Africa later this year.

“It’s an exciting time for him, it’s his last year as a junior before entering the adult competitions.”