Dame Sarah Storey, Great Britain’s most successful ever female Paralympian, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support fellow Rio competitor Hannah Dines, who has been dropped from the national team.
British Cycling last month confirmed the members of the Great Britain Cycling Team Para-cycling Programme for 2017 and the absence of Dines’ name continued an unhappy start to the year for the 23-year-old from Glasgow.
On New Year’s Eve thieves stole and burnt her car. Inside was the custom tricycle that Dines, who has cerebral palsy, rode to fifth place in the T1-2 road race at the Rio Paralympics last summer.
As we reported on Saturday, Dines launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a replacement and thanks to the generosity of more than 350 donors, who have raised more than £8,000, she beat her goal of £7,454.
Storey says she wants to “keep that momentum going” by launching her own campaign on Crowdfunder.co.uk.
The appeal aims to raise funds for her Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club and its elite women's racing team.
But it is also intended to ensure that Dines, who has lost her Lottery funding plus the support that comes with being a member of the national team, can compete in World Cup races and continue to build her career.
“At just 23 years old Hannah will be forced to use savings to make ends meet whilst she continues to pursue her dream of the Paralympic podium in Tokyo,” Storey said.
“Not only that but as an athlete with cerebral palsy the prospect of attending Road World Cups without any support is a daunting prospect, it would be daunting enough as an able-bodied rider.
“Hannah doesn't have the choice of racing in the UK as an alternative, she has to travel to ensure she can get the competition and so instantly being a trike rider is a great deal more expensive than a solo road rider.
“Hannah shouldn't be contemplating having to travel unsupported and with it being a very recent decision there's been no opportunity to source the funding for the extra expense of this European programme which starts in three months,” she added.
Storey, who has competed in seven Paralympic Games, winning 14 gold medals – five in swimming and nine in road and track cycling, switching sports ahead of Beijing 2008 – outlined how funds raised would support Dines.
“If you can pledge to this project we can ensure Hannah can afford to fly, with a staff member, and hire a suitable vehicle so that she doesn't have to drive by herself to Italy for the 1st World Cup,” she wrote.
“She'll also then have the support most riders take for granted and know that her bike is checked and prepped, taking a huge weight off her mind, allowing her to focus on racing to the best of her ability.
“Her fierce independence is inspiring, but how many people do you know who'd be willing to attend a Road World Cup series alone so they can prove themselves worthy of selection for the Road World Championships.”
She added: “Hannah has a degree in Physiological Sciences and starts an MSc in Sports Physiology part-time around her training and racing from September.
“At such a young age she has an incredible career ahead of her and we hope this ‘Join The Team’ project will be that support she needs during such a trying period.
“Receiving such short notice on a racing campaign no longer being funded or supported is testing enough but for a rider like Hannah who'd just recently fallen victim to heartless thieves it is even worse.
“Fortunately Hannah has funded the replacement trike through the generosity of people in her own crowdfunding campaign, so now we hope to keep that momentum going!”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.