A LUCKY ten-year-old from Shipston-on-Stour got to start a cycling race alongside her heroes Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott, and Dani King.
As a keen cyclist, Charlie Johnson signed up for the 50km ‘Ride with Brad’ event, billed as a chance to ride alongside the Tour de France winner.
But after winning a competition, the Shipston Primary School pupil got to meet the three Olympic champions in the VIP area before the event, and even got to start the race alongside them at the front.
She said: “It was great to meet three of my cycling heroes and they gave me lots of encouragement.”
A member of Stratford Cycling club, Charlie has been cycling for the past two years, but the ride in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, was the first long-distance sportive event she had ever signed up for.
When she entered a competition to start at the front, she was picked because of her sheer enthusiasm for the sport.
As a young female cyclist, she was particularly excited to ride with the professional women’s Wiggle Honda team, which Trott and King are part of.
Charlie said: “The ride had some tough climbs but when Bradley, Laura and Dani rode along with me I found the extra strength in my legs I needed to finish.”
Laura Trott adjusts Charlie's helmet just before the race.
As well as Olympic champions, she was joined by her father Jules Johnson, a triathlete at Stratford Athletic Club.
He said: “It’s fantastic to see how Charlie has been inspired by meeting Bradley and the Wiggle Honda team.”
With such passion for the sport, in the future it could be Charlie inspiring a younger generation to cycle.
Her dad said: “Her enthusiasm for cycling, in particular women’s cycling, is now greater than ever and with such good role models to follow, we’re looking forward to seeing her develop as a cyclist.”
Charlie with Bradley Wiggins at the starting line.
Charlie with her heroes, Laura Trott, left, and Dani King, right. All photos: Jules Johnson
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