It's a bumpy ride for Dame Sarah Storey just days away from giving birth

MATT MAJENDIE
Working out: Storey is due to give birth to her second child within days

The baby could come at any time, yet Dame Sarah Storey pedals on.

Yesterday was a rare day off, despite the fact she is due to give birth to her second child - her daughter Louisa is hoping for a sister - before the month is out.

Instead, the 14-time Paralympic champion was back in London - the scene of four of those golds - to witness a charity ride for CASCAID, aimed at raising £2million for cancer research. Today, she will clip herself back into her pedals on a bike where the handlebars have had to be shifted to make way for her bump.

For Storey, the focus is on the upcoming birth, which she jokes could be a 40th birthday present should it fall on the 26th but, even now, she is already plotting her next journey on two wheels.

"The first competition at the track worlds is five months after the birth," she said. "When I rode five months after Louisa’s birth, my time would have won gold at London 2012. But I don’t know where I’ll be by then this time."

(Jamie Wiseman for the Daily Mail)

The Para Cycling Road World Championships in Italy in August look a more realistic target but everything is geared towards the next Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020, when she’ll be approaching her 43rd birthday. Yet, she refuses to look at Japan as the last hurrah.

She said: "It’s the end goal of the next three years and I know there’s no quick fixes between now and then and, if I need to take time, I’ll take time. I was flying on the bike too soon after Louisa was born, so hindsight will be helpful this time."

Already planning her return, she says she is fitter than she was when pregnant for the first time four years ago, when she was still competing up to 20 weeks.

(Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)

Her situation draws parallels with Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open when eight weeks pregnant but Storey insisted: “I wasn’t at her level”. Last time around, Storey took just six weeks off after the birth.

As for whether Tokyo leads to retirement, she doesn’t know. If she does step away, aside from her family, there is no shortage of ways to keep herself occupied: she runs her own women’s cycling team and is on the world cycling body’s athletes’ commission. With both, she is keen to push for greater attention on women’s cycling.

"I think there’s a mixture of ideals and realism with the situation,” she said. “Cycling is a fragile model as it’s sponsorship driven and you need sponsors for the TV coverage and, in turn, to get sponsorship."

(Christopher Lee/Getty Images for British Cycling)

Storey knows she cannot find a solution overnight but jokes there’s "plenty to think about while I’m feeding the baby".

Dame Sarah Storey supports CASCAID, an asset management charitable initiative, to raise £2m for Cancer Research UK through a series of challenges.

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