First spotted by the Welsh Talent Team, having started her career with her local Abergavenny Road Club, James graduated onto the British Cycling Junior Academy, at the age of 15, and was soon progressing through the ranks with a host of British national titles.
A bout of glandular fever in 2008 cost her a place at the UEC European Junior Track Championships but James made up for that disappointment the following season, winning European junior golds in the sprint and 500-metre time trial in Minsk, Belarus, and world junior titles in the keirin and sprint in Moscow.
Her showing in those UCI World Junior Track Cycling Championships also included a silver medal, in the time trial, and a new world record of 11.093 in the 200-metre time trial portion of the sprint competition.
The graduation towards senior competition continued seamlessly in 2010 as, riding for Wales, she won two medals at The Commonwealth Games as well as returning from the UEC European Under-23 Track Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia, with a world title in the sprint and silvers in the time trial and team sprint, with Williamson.
As she entered 2011, her first UCI Track Cycling World Cup medal came in Beijing in January with a keirin bronze and, after a gold in the team sprint with Jess Varnish at that summer’s UEC Under-23 European Track Cycling Championships in Anadia, Portugal – as well as a silver in the 500-metre time trial at the same championships – James was under serious consideration for London 2012.
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