Article from the Shuttle News
A champion racing cyclist and Wyre Forest Cycle Racing club member from Kidderminster is gearing up for the top flight after being selected to ride for the prestigious La Pomme Marseille Junior team in France.
Alex Barker, aged 17, a sixth form student at Stourport High School, will join the team in May, and continue his A-level studies online.
The 2018 UK national circuit racing champion will stay in university accommodation at the city’s medical university and train four days a week as well as compete in races throughout France, Covid-19 restrictions allowing.
Under the 90-day rule affecting non-EU citizens, he will have to return home in August, but hopes to be granted a long-term visa which will enable him to re-join the team and continue his quest to be a professional cyclist.
Alex, a former Team GB Apprentice, started racing at the age of eight and has won several West Midlands regional championships as well as having podium success at national level. The highlight of his career to date is winning the 2018 UK National Circuit race held on the famous Oliver’s Mount circuit in Scarborough.
He has also raced in Europe several times and won the five-day WSD stage race held in the Netherlands, for three consecutive years.
The year 12 student, who is studying A-level geography, PE and psychology, said: “It’s not unusual for British riders to train and race with teams on the continent but it’s a really good opportunity for me. Marseille is one of the best and it’s great they’ve selected me to join their junior team and offer me the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche.”
Jane Millington, head of sixth form and assistant principal at Stourport High School, added: “We’re thrilled he’s been selected and, of course, one of the legacies of lockdown is an excellent system of online learning for Alex to take advantage of during his time in France.
“We’ll support him all we can and I’m sure his hard work and determination will help him achieve his ambition and many more yellow jerseys.”