Following the retirement of the reigning Paralympic champion Sophie Thornhill last week, tandem pilot Helen Scott has today announced that the Great Britain Cycling Team is on the hunt for a tandem ‘stoker’ (the blind or visually impaired rider at the back of the tandem) to continue their legacy of success.

Scott said: “Sophie and I enjoyed a successful partnership spanning over six years and winning eight world titles together as well as the Paralympic gold medal, and we made such a strong team. Sophie has made the decision to further her education which I completely respect and I wish her all the best.

“This is the start of a new chapter in my career, and I am still as driven as ever to reach that top step of the podium in Tokyo and beyond. I want to encourage any blind or visually impaired females who can match my drive and passion for sporting success to put in an application.

“Tandem racing is a real team effort and we are so well-supported within the Great Britain Cycling Team. We receive the very best coaching, track and gym time, access to nutritionists, physios and psychs, just to give some examples of the support we receive. But what I enjoy most is that I get to train alongside a group of really good friends and teammates each day, some of whom are Olympic and Paralympic champions, which is hugely inspiring.

“I’m really passionate about tandem racing, and I remain highly driven to further my successes on the tandem, and to further support the development of para-cycling. For me, the journey is by no means over, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me and a new tandem partner.”

Jon Pett, Head of Para-cycling for the Great Britain Cycling Team said: “We fully believe that, with 427 days to go until the Tokyo Paralympic Games, we have enough time to develop a new tandem stoker to deliver gold medal success, as well as contributing to our team ambition of topping the medal table in Tokyo, Paris and beyond. Working with our world-class team of support staff in our world-class facilities alongside the world’s best tandem pilot in Helen Scott, the candidate will be in the best place to start their elite racing career.

“It’s been a privilege supporting Helen and Sophie in dominating their sport over the years, and I’m keen that we can continue this success both for the reputation of our team but also to play a role in furthering the development of para-cycling.

“We are looking for a blind or visually impaired female who has the drive and passion to succeed. Cycling experience is not necessarily required, but you do need to hold a British passport and be at least 18 years old by 31st December 2021. If this opportunity is of interest to you, or someone you know, then please contact John Lenton, our Para-Cycling Pathway Manager, on johnlenton@britishcycling.org.uk.”

The recruitment for a female blind or visually impaired rider to target Tokyo 2020 is running alongside a wider talent identification campaign for the Great Britain Cycling Team’s para-cycling squad. The #Power2Paris programme, which looks to identify potential Paralympians for the Paris 2024 Games and beyond, was launched earlier this year. For more information including details on how to apply, please click here.