CWMBRAN’S Megan Chard is a young woman on a mission to make it big in the cycling world.

The 18-year-old has already competed in a number of prestigious track and road events, including several at national and international level for Wales.

Now she plans to mix it with the elite much more regularly, and her long-term aim is to go to the next Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The Gold Coast might be some way off but the teenager is keen to lay the foundations for what she hopes will be a long and successful career, one which includes a trip Down Under in 2018.

A first-year Sport Coaching student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Chard received a boost this year when former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt offered to coach her.

That, along with a busy season lined up riding for teams based in Kent (PMR) and Belgium (Isorex), could see the youngster make big strides in 2017.

Speaking about her background in the sport, she said: “I’ve been cycling since I was about 13, but competitively since 14.

“When I started a few people said I rode like Rebecca Romero (2008 Olympic women’s individual pursuit champion) and I thought ‘wow, I want to be like her’, and things progressed from there.

“The London Olympics inspired me quite a lot and Geraint Thomas came to my local club with his gold medal.

“I saw him with that and thought it was the sport I really wanted to do.

“I’ve represented Wales and participated in many prestigious cycling races such as Gent-Wevelgem (Belgium road race) and multi-sporting events such as the UK Sainsbury’s School Games.

“I’ve had a top-five at national level and strong performances at international level too.

“This year I decided that I wanted to be 100 per cent serious about cycling and make it my career.

“In 2017, my career is taking a big step into the elite rankings and I will also be racing in a lot of the Belgium classics and world tour road races.”

But, as Chard points out, there are areas where she could do with a bit of help.

She added: “The problem is that it is all self-funded.

“I will be paying for the travel costs, accommodation, equipment and everything else that comes with it.

“I will be in Belgium and Holland for more than 100 days, including the whole of summer, and this is where I wish to make my career as successful as possible before hopefully moving out there at the end of the year.

“Competing in these bigger events will give me the opportunity to race for Wales in the Commonwealth Games in 2018, which is the main goal of mine for the next 18 months.

“I am dedicating every spare bit of time to training, maintenance, and everything that would be beneficial for my cycling.

“I am 100 per cent focused on what I want, all I need to do is find a way to fund it.”

On average, Chard spends 18-24 hours a week in the saddle, plus strength and conditioning training.

Her determination and focus is clear for all to see and, who knows, this Cwmbran teenager could well be the next big thing in Welsh and British cycling.

l Get in touch with us via if you are able to help Megan fund her cycling career.