Teen cyclist earns coveted Olympic spot

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Just two years ago Lauren Bate-Lowe hadn’t even seen the inside of a cycling velodrome or ridden a track bike.

But now the local teen has been hand-picked for Team GB’s prestigious Olympic development programme.

The move means that the Cansfield High pupil, of Haydock, has been identified as a potential Olympic star of the future.

Lauren has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of track cycling to date - she was picked for the GB talent team when she was just 13 years old and has since been raking in the medals.

Earlier this year she claimed four medals at the British Cycling national championships in the under 16s and under 18s categories, despite being just 14 at the time.

Lauren, who recently turned 15, was then selected as a member of the North West cycling team to compete in the annual Sainsbury’s inter-regional school sports event.

Competing alongside fellow local cyclist, Chris Heaton, of Eccleston, she helped the North West team - known as the bumble bees for their distinctive black and yellow strip - claim a comfortable victory over the next best team, Wales.

Lauren’s performances included a silver medal in the match sprint, a silver in the keirin and a silver in the team sprint final alongside teammate Monica Dew - with the duo missing out on gold by just one hundredth of a second.

But in the blue ribbon team pursuit event Lauren and her teammates made no mistake, claiming gold and setting a national under 16s girls record time in the final.

Her proud grandfather, Arthur Bate, said: “I know I’m biased but Lauren’s progress and achievements can only be described as amazing - especially considering that two years ago she hadn’t even seen the inside of a velodrome, never mind ridden a track bike.

“Her tremendous success is all down to her dedication to the sport and the first-class coaching she receives from top GB coaches.”