Image: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/

It was a successful evening for the Great Britain Cycling Team’s Dame Sarah Storey at The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards, as she took the crown of Disability Sportswoman of the Year during the online ceremony.

Storey won the award following on from her domination at the UCI Para-cycling Track Championships in Milton, Canada, back in March, where she won the pursuit, scratch race and omnium events to bring her overall world championship title tally up to an impressive 38.

Storey said: “I’m thrilled to have won this evening; I genuinely didn’t expect any nominations let alone an award. It’s a super way to end what has been an unusual year.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have started 2020 the way I intended to go on, but even with plans on hold for 12 months, I don’t feel any less motivated!

“My first two Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year awards came in 1992 in the Schoolgirl category, as it was then called, and in 1996 as Student of the Year. Back then I never dreamed I’d be a recipient more than 20 years later! The awards have always been a key celebration of women’s sport and I feel privileged to have been recognised again. It’s also a testament to the amazing team I have around me, as I certainly couldn’t juggle motherhood and training and my other roles without such a dedicated support network.

“Thank you to everyone who continues to believe in me, I can’t wait to get back to racing on the road and track next year!”

Lizzie Deignan was also short-listed for the Sportswoman of the Year, rounding off what has been a brilliant 2020 season for Lizzie, who’s sporting achievements include winning three major races in what proved to be a busy autumn race schedule. Deignan took the victories at GP Plouay, La Course by Le Tour and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, all while riding for her trade team Trek-Segafredo, which was enough to secure her place as the overall leader in the Women’s WorldTour Rankings in 2020. Jockey Hollie Doyle won the title of Sportswoman of the Year.

Stephen Park, Performance Director for British Cycling, said: “It fills me with pride to see Dame Sarah’s achievements acknowledged in this way, and I’d like to congratulate her on this award.

“Watching Sarah win three more world titles in Milton was one of my highlights from 2020. She is an incredible athlete, as proven by her palmares, and is a fantastic spokesperson for our sport, as demonstrated by the work she does in her role as Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region. I was pleased to Sarah’s achievements recognized by winning the Disability Sportswoman of the Year award.

“Similarly, I’ve really enjoyed watching Lizzie compete this season. In what has been a difficult year for everyone, she has given the cycling fans something to cheer about. As she does every year, Lizzie made a superb team leader for Great Britain at the UCI Road World Championships, galvanizing a predominantly developing women’s team to support her in finishing in sixth place with minimal prior preparations. Her nomination for the Sportswoman of the Year accolade was fully deserved.

“Lizzie and Sarah are just two examples of the incredibly successful female riders we are fortunate to have on our team, and we have seen some excellent performances elsewhere from our programme riders this year. I am proud of all their achievements and I know they are on the trajectory towards another successful season in 2021.”

British Cycling was also represented in the Influencer category by cycling volunteer Imogen Callaway. Shortlisted for her inspiring efforts to encourage countless women across the West Country – and beyond through social media – to take up cycling, Imogen has taken more than 230 women on bike rides since last year. And, during the lockdown period, Callaway posted videos of her lone cycling adventures on YouTube, encouraging others to take up cycling or get out on their bikes. As soon as restrictions were lifted, she began running sessions in groups of six which have been constantly oversubscribed. The Influencer Award was won by Alice Liveing.