Meet the Suffolk cycling dynamo aiming to be a world champion
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A young Suffolk cycling dynamo has her eyes on becoming a world champion, with her name already on silverware aged just 11.
Abbey Thompson, from Crowfield near Stonham Aspal, is already the national time trial champion in her age category – but plans to go global this year by entering into a number of major European competitions.
The Suffolk Youth Race Team rider has 81 race wins under her belt after getting into the sport aged just seven, and competes in road racing, cyclocross and TT events.
Abbey said her love of speed makes the sport so fun.
She said: "I rode my first race when I was four years old but my dad decided I was too young, so I had to wait until I was older to get into racing.
"When I was eight years old, I could do 10 miles at over 16 miles per hour. I love speed and if I have a difficult start, I love to chase.
"It’s the challenge that makes it fun."
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Abbey comes from a family with a love for the sport, with her father Leon coaching her alongside fellow siblings and team members Eva and Callum. Mr Thompson said his daughter is definitely "one to watch" nationally.
During 2020, she even had the chance to ride with European champion Tifosi Megan Barker, who has inspired her to continue chasing her dreams.
She said: "‘One day I would like to be a famous professional cyclist and win the World Championship.
"I know that is a long way off but I am happy to work hard this year and to encourage more girls to ride and race. My long-term goal is to participate in the women’s Tour de France."
Abbey is no stranger to support from across the county, having raised £2,500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital in a 120-mile event to help treat her brother who was unwell as a baby.
Stonham Barns, where Abbey and the team regularly practise, have again sponsored the youngster in a bid to help her reach her dreams.
Alan Forward, owner of Stonham Barns, said: "We are delighted to sponsor Abbey personally and the overall team kit knowing how motivated these young cyclists are to do well.
"These are the professional cyclists of the future and it’s good to see both boys and girls doing well at such a young age."