Henrietta heads for Holland in bid to step up a gear
TEENAGED cycling star Henrietta Colborne is about to embark on a new chapter in her career as she moves to the Netherlands to live and ride for Dutch-based team Swabo Ladies.
The 18-year-old road racer, from Milburn, is being supported by the David Rayner Fund, set up in memory of the late Dave Rayner. It aims assist ambitious riders, like Dave, to make a successful professional career.
Henrietta, a 12 times national junior champion who last year broke the 10-mile junior women’s national competition record by 50 seconds, is currently “warm weather training” in Spain — although she said it snowed there three weeks ago for the first time in 40 years.
She will then move to the Netherlands and live in the town of Breda, in the south of the country.
“I wanted to live and race abroad in 2017. After spending the majority of my time this summer in the Netherlands and Belgium I soon realised this was the place to be for women’s racing,” she said.
“A large majority of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) racing is in the Netherlands and Belgium and, with the Swabo Ladies team being based in the Netherlands, it seemed a natural place to go.
“I’m really looking forward to the experience of living there. I want to embrace the team atmosphere and the Dutch way of life. In addition to the excellent racing it will be a great opportunity to try and learn a new language and be a lot more independent.
“By living abroad I am hoping to learn my trade. This may sound a bit of an odd comment after five years of racing, but when you step up a level (junior to elite) and there are 150 riders heading down a road as wide as your car at 40-50 kph, you have to be able to move up and be at the front of the race. My long term aim is to gain results and progress within a couple of years into a UCI team.
“This is my first year supported by the David Rayner Fund and I am very grateful for their support, without which it wouldn’t be possible to live and race out in the Netherlands.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the 2017 race season with my new Dutch team, Swabo Ladies.”
Since the start of the David Rayner Fund, just over 20 years ago, more than £600,000 in grants have seen the likes of David Millar, Adam Yates and the Downing brothers fulfil their professional dreams. Today around 20 riders are supported by the fund.
David was an English professional racing cyclist who died aged 27 after an incident outside a nightclub in Bradford.