Britain’s most successful female Paralympian speaks to town’s business leaders

Michael Leather and Ryan Harrison with Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Storey, who spoke to Harrogate businesspeople in the run-up to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in September 2019. Picture: Richard Doughty Photography
Michael Leather and Ryan Harrison with Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Storey, who spoke to Harrogate businesspeople in the run-up to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in September 2019. Picture: Richard Doughty Photography

Britain’s most successful ever female Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, has spoken about her excitement at competing in the UCI World Championships in Harrogate, during a visit to the town to address business leaders.

Dame Sarah, a 14-time gold medallist, will be competing in the World Championships in September alongside other members of her team, Storey Racing.

Fresh from completing a trial run of the 106km para cycling route from Beverley to Harrogate, she spoke to businesspeople from the district at an event at West Park Hotel, and highlighted the importance of local support.

Dame Sarah, who was joined at the event by Team Storey riders Katie Toft and Hannah Dines, said the nine days of racing, which will all be centred on Harrogate, were “a very exciting prospect”.

“It is the people that make events like this even more special, and I know we are going to get fantastic support in Yorkshire; the support here is always exceptional,” she said.

“This is a unique event and such a great thing for Harrogate to play a central role in. I’m delighted at the lengths the county is going to accommodate it – closing the A19 and A61 is a huge commitment – but I’m delighted that such effort and planning has gone into the routes. We are all very excited about returning in September.”

The event was organised by chartered accountants Leathers – a long-standing sponsor and supporter of Storey Racing. Managing partner Michael Leather is known for his cycling achievements, including completing Le Loop – which follows the exact route of the Tour de France – three times, and the Leathers team have raised over £50,000 for charity through their ongoing cycling achievements.

Leathers partner Ryan Harrison, who hosted the event, said: “We are delighted and very proud to be a sponsor of Storey Racing and are grateful to [Dame Sarah] for sharing her story with our many guests at this event.”

The UCI Road World Championships will be held between September 22 and 29. All the races will finish in Harrogate, but each day’s race will start in a different place around the county, including in Ripon, Wetherby and Tadcaster, and will also take in Masham, Boroughbridge and Nidderdale, among other places.