ZACH Bridges was among those who looked on excitedly as Great Britain’s star cyclists used the Wales National Velodrome in Newport to warm up for the London Olympics in 2012.

Around five-and-a-half years later and the Llantarnam youngster is now riding high himself having taken up racing after watching the likes of Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins at close quarters.

He has also been nominated for Young Sports Personality of the Year in the South Wales Argus Sports Awards, which take place at Chepstow Racecourse on March 14.

Mum Sandy said: “Inspired by Team GB, Zach announced that he’d “love to have a go at racing”.

“Over the next few years his progression continued, along with some notable wins at UK level, and this year the hard work continued to pay off when Zach was offered one of only five places in British Cycling’s endurance track and road squad.

“He was the only Wales-based male cyclist offered a place in this prestigious squad.”

Other achievements include representing Wales in various races, winning a gold medal as part of the Welsh team at the Sainsbury’s School Games and UK Inter-Regional Track Championships, holding the yellow jersey for three stages of the Youth Tour of Scotland and finishing third overall, and recording one of the fastest 10-mile time trial times ever by a Welsh 16-year-old.

Sandy added: “Those at Zach’s school will remember that prior to cycling he was never a particularly talented athlete, his enthusiasm being far stronger than any ability.

“Quite often a reserve in teams and finishing towards the back in cross country, everything changed when he started cycling.

“The transformation in his fitness, self-esteem and confidence were noticeable and have continued to provide lessons in life.”

For a full explanation of each category visit - nominations close at 5pm on Friday, January 19.