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Olympic hopeful Sophie Wright from Horsford wins mountain bike comeback - 12 days after five-hour heart operation

PUBLISHED: 13:38 26 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:38 26 April 2017

Sophie Wright finished fourth in the junior womens race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sophie Wright finished fourth in the junior womens race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A teenage cycling sensation and Olympic hopeful has got back to winning ways just days after undergoing a major operation for a heart problem which could have ended her career.

The UCI Junior Series for Women was won in commanding fashion by Great Britain’'s Sophie Wright at Hadleigh Park international. Picture: Paul Sanwell/OP PhotographicThe UCI Junior Series for Women was won in commanding fashion by Great Britain’'s Sophie Wright at Hadleigh Park international. Picture: Paul Sanwell/OP Photographic

Sophie Wright, 18, from Horsford, near Norwich, won a national mountain bike event at the weekend just 12 days after undergoing five hours of keyhole surgery to correct an abnormal heart rhythm.

The Hellesdon High School Sixth Form student came home five minutes ahead of her nearest rival in the contest in Berkshire in a remarkable come back to the saddle.

Miss Wright, a rising star in the Team GB Cycling Team and junior Olympic programme, said she was delighted with the result following the painstaking operation which could have left her cycling dreams in tatters had it gone wrong.

She said: “It was brilliant. It was just good to get back to racing really and the racing scene.

“It was just brilliant to win and kick off racing like that.”

Miss Wright, who will take part in a World Junior Series event at Hadleigh Park in Essex next month before competing in the world championship events in Australia and Norway later this year, said she was “overwhelmed” surgery had been successful.

She said: “When I realised they had done it...it was so overwhelming. It was just a massive relief.

“Over the past two years I’ve had this abnormal heart rhythm which sometimes randomly happens when I’m on my bike.

“It’s a palpitation where my maximum heart rate goes up to about 256 a minute where my usual maximum is around 180 to 190.

“I’ve been having consultations and the last time it happened during a race where I came third in the European Road Racing Championships back in September.

“After that the doctor at British Cycling stopped me from training and racing because of this heart issue.”

Miss Wright initially went for an operation at Papworth Hospital in January but had to return on April 11 for intricate surgery after the problem was found to be in a more difficult place than first thought.

She added: “When I was wheeled through to my room I opened my eyes and said to my parents “we did it” and we all started crying.”

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