Teen cyclist Maddie Leech is looking to make it to the top of British cycling and might one day go for gold for Team GB in the Olympics.
Maddie, 18, has recently finished 5th in the women’s junior world championships time trial event taking place in Belgium.
Back in August she picked up a gold and a silver medal at the European Junior Championships in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. She collected gold in the team pursuit category and won silver in the women’s junior points race.
Maddie’s mum Joanna said: “We are always watching the Eurosport channel when she is on. We are screaming at the TV for her to do well.
“We are all very proud of what she has achieved so far. To see your child enjoying the thing they love doing is the best feeling. Although I do get nervous watching her as she does go fast.”
Maddie lives on the outskirts of Lindley with her family. She first got into cycling when she was just 13, watching the 2016 Olympics. The women’s track cycling team won gold that year with an outstanding performance from Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott.
Joanna added: “None of us in the family have ever been that interested in cycling. Maddie watched the track cycling in the Olympics and she was just hooked straightaway. She wanted to join a cycling club so we found her one.”
The energetic teenager joined Huddersfield Star Wheelers in their Go-Ride section. It is a British Cycling development programme for young people. The programme provides a fun and safe way to introduce young riders to the world of cycle sport and provides a platform to improve bike handling skills.
The 2016 gold medallist Laura Trott was one such young person to graduate from the programme. She says: “The Go-Ride programme is doing a brilliant job of harnessing the enthusiasm of young people and encouraging more youngsters to get involved. It really is going from strength to strength and it’s unbelievable to hear about the increasing numbers of young riders putting power to the pedals.”
Maddie’s mum Joanna has seen her daughter’s rise through the programme to where she is now.
She said: “Maddie took part in races locally and has loved her journey in cycling so far. I think her dream would be to do it full-time. The Star Wheelers have been great with Maddie and so have British Cycling. It’s all very exciting at the moment.”
Whilst rising up the British cycling ladder Maddie has also concentrated on her studies. She has just graduated from Huddersfield New College studying Sports Science.
Joanna added: “Whilst I think Maddie would love a career in cycling, she knows there is a lot of tough competition out there with a lot of top talent. So she’s been sensible and worked hard in school and college to have a career to fall back on.”
So what’s next for Maddie? Joanna says she’s focusing on trying to get into the British Cycling academy and that will put her on the road to the Olympics.
Joanna said: “When she comes back from Belgium she’ll come back home. However she’s hoping to go and live in Manchester if she gets into the academy. They are based out of Manchester at the National Cycling Centre at the velodrome.
“Obviously it would be a big thing for her to move out but she is getting used to being away from home, especially with these trips abroad. She’s growing up fast and, as I said before, we are very proud of her.”
Maddie raced on Saturday morning with her British Cycling teammates in the world championship women’s junior team event. Her teammates include Zoe Bäckstedt, Millie Couzens and Flora Perkins.
The competition took place in Belgium and was based in the city of Leuven. The course was 5 laps on the local circuit in Leuven which includes four climbs.