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Home / Latest News / This Cardiff cycling club is to thank for half of Wales’ Olympic golds in the last four decades

This Cardiff cycling club is to thank for half of Wales’ Olympic golds in the last four decades

As Wales revels in a record-equalling Olympics medal haul, one Cardiff club can lay claim to being largely responsible for the gold rush.

Welsh cyclists Owain Doull and Elinor Barker each won team pursuit golds in Rio over the weekend, the two adding to five silvers for Welsh athletes so far in Brazil.

And watching on from home with a particularly keen interest has been Alan Davis, head coach of the Maindy Flyers youth cycling club in Cardiff.

He coached both Doull and Barker – as well as fellow Rio competitor Geraint Thomas , who celebrated winning gold in Beijing and London – and is delighted with their success.

With former members of the Cardiff club having won four of the eight Welsh golds in the last 40 years, the Flyers have undoubtedly played a huge role in recent Welsh sporting success.

Britain's Joanna Rowsell Shand, left, and Elinor Barker celebrate after winning gold in the women's team pursuit final
Elinor Barker, right, celebrates with team mate Joanna Rowsell Shand

Club head coach Alan described himself as “immensely proud” after watching two of his protégés add to Britain’s golden haul in Rio.

The champion trio were at the club between the ages of nine and 14 or 15, having gone along to taster sessions at the Maindy Centre as youngsters.

“None of them would be riding bikes were it not for the Maindy Flyers,” Alan explained.

“They came along to have a go at cycling at the Maindy Centre and that’s what got them into it.

“We got them up to a certain standard and then move them on to senior clubs or to the Welsh Cycling setup.”

Owain Doull roars in celebration

Asked if he could ever have imagined Wales’ latest two gold medallists would one day top an Olympic podium, Alan added: “You knew Elinor and Owain were special. They were very dedicated and extremely hard-working, although initially didn’t have the same level of success that Geraint had.

“But you thought that if it were possible they would both do it, because their dedication and their devotion to cycling was without question.

“So yes, you had a sneaking suspicion they might.

“They were great kids, hugely dedicated but they also relaxed, had fun, enjoyed coming away with us to races we did all around the UK.

“They were both very pleasant people and they have grown into fabulous young adults. I can’t say a bad word about them because there isn’t a bad a word to say about them.”

Cyclist and Olympic medalist Geraint Thomas on a return to Maindy cycling track to coach and speak with adults and children at the Flyers

The Maindy Flyers had 20 members when Geraint Thomas was at the club. The total now stands at 120.

Alan now hopes the duo, along with fellow cycling medallist Becky James, from Abergavenny, and Thomas, will prompt even more people to get involved in the sport.

“I cut our training session on Thursday short by 15 minutes so they could all go home and watch the first round of the women’s team pursuit,” Alan said.

“There’s not a Maindy Flyer out there who hasn’t met Geraint or Owain or Elinor. They are a massive inspiration.”

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