Sam is find­ing he and bikes sit well to­gether

First ti­tle claimed just two months after road ac­ci­dent

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­

HAV­ING his bike wrecked fol­low­ing a crash caused by a diesel spill on the A413 was never go­ing to put Sam Hen­ning off get­ting back into the sad­dle.

The for­mer cross-coun­try run­ner, from Chal­font St Peter, had only been cy­cling com­pet­i­tively for two months when the ac­ci­dent oc­curred in July.

The 15-year-old, a pupil at Dr Chal­lenor’s, was one of a num­ber of cy­clists on the Lon­don­bound car­riage­way who came a crop­per as a re­sult of a coach that had been leak­ing diesel all the way from Amer­sham to Chal­font.

Not only was Hen­ning’s bike ru­ined, so too were his cy­cling shorts and gloves, which were in shreds, leav­ing the teenager with cuts and grazes but thank­ing his lucky stars it was noth­ing more se­ri­ous.

Just two months later, he is cel­e­brat­ing his first vic­tory in his new sport, hav­ing won the Na­tional Youth 10-Mile Time Trial in Lough­bor­ough on Satur­day.

His proud fa­ther, An­drew, said: “Sam has only been cy­cling for his first club, Hilling­don Slip­stream­ers, for just over four months, but beat 179 other fi­nal­ists to jointly claim his first na­tional ti­tle with a 16-yearold, and that’s not to men­tion the hun­dreds of oth­ers he saw off in the re­gional rounds.

“He used to be a very suc­cess­ful cross-coun­try run­ner. He was county cham­pion and fourth in the UK for his age but he kept get­ting in­jured, and we came to the con­clu­sion he didn’t have the right frame for dis­tance run­ning.

“If you look at Mo Farah, he is quite small with a slight frame, while Sam was lighter in his youth but is now 6ft tall and mus­cu­lar. But he has al­ways liked cy­cling so he looked at that in­stead and has never looked back.

“He used to go out on his bike but has never trained for cy­cling or cy­cled com­pet­i­tively, but he has al­ways been very com­pet­i­tive, and he is nat­u­rally very fit from his run­ning days. It seems he has found a sport he has the right build for.

“He’s now talk­ing about want­ing to be a pro­fes­sional cy­clist, but he’s tak­ing his GCSEs this year and we’re en­cour­ag­ing him to put his ed­u­ca­tion first so he has some­thing to fall back on.”

Hen­ning, who is in the process of claim­ing against the coach company’s in­surance, would also like to thank Slip­stream­ers’ David George, who lent him an ex­pen­sive disc wheel, which gives rid­ers more aero­dy­nam­ics, for the time trial.

Con­trib­uted pho­tos

ALL SET: Sam Hen­ning is set in mo­tion in Lough­bor­ough; (in­set) wear­ing his win­ner’s medal after com­ing joint first in the 10-mile time trial

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