British Cycling has announced major changes to its performance pathway structure which will align the focus of the academy squads with success in Tokyo 2020.
Refined and rebranded as the ‘Rider Route’, the pathway will continue to give British Cycling the best chance of identifying and developing young talented riders to win medals at world championship and Olympic level in an increasingly competitive international environment.
Pathway enhancements include:
- The establishment of a European training base in Italy in late 2015
- Basing the men’s academy endurance squad in Italy to allow regular access to world class U23 racing
- Strengthening the women’s academy endurance squad with a return to Manchester to encourage stronger links with podium programme
- Creation of a women’s road race programme which will see the Great Britain Cycling Team compete in national and international races throughout the season
- Mountain bike academy to establish a base in the Peak District to take advantage of proximity to trails
- The Rider Route to podium level refreshed with the Regional Performance Pathway renamed as ‘the Foundation’
- The Olympic Development Programme will become the ‘Junior Academy’ to indicate a clearer link with the Academy programme which in turn will become the ‘Senior Academy’.
Plans are underway to establish a European training base in Italy which will be ready in late 2015. This will be accessible to the full Great Britain Cycling Team squad.
Brian Stephens, who coached the Australian national under-23 men’s road programme for almost two decades and played a significant role in developing many of Australia’s top riders, has joined the endurance academy coaching team and will work alongside Chris Newton and Keith Lambert.
The women’s academy endurance squad will move back to Manchester from their temporary base in Newport in September 2015. The squad will race on the road in both national and international competition with the aim of developing a greater number of female road riders to underpin the Podium programme.
For the ‘dirt’ programmes, the mountain bike academy squad will move out toward the Peak District to improve proximity to trails and residential opportunities will be provided to BMX riders at 17 years of age.
Technical director Shane Sutton said: “We’re introducing some major changes to the academy and the rationale for that is simple – to ensure that we continue to develop riders that are capable of standing on world podiums and ensure any gaps we currently have in the programme are reduced in the build-up to Tokyo.
“The establishment of a European training base is a prospect that we are all extremely excited about. Not only will it create new training and racing opportunities across all the disciplines, it allows us to reinvent a model that led to one of Great Britain’s most successful periods in the sport.”
Performance pathway manager Ian Yates said: “There has been a perception in recent years that both the academy endurance squads were only focused on developing track riders.
"We’ve taken this feedback on board and the new structure will look to address that situation. The new set-up aims to develop those who want a purely road focused career as well as those whose interests lie in the track – the two groups will train and race together as we know that during this period of their development the two disciplines complement each other.
“The decision to move the women’s endurance squad back to Manchester from their temporary base in Newport means they will be more connected to the podium programme, and we are very pleased to establish a women’s road race programme – a move which will help us enhance the development of female road riders for Tokyo and beyond.
"The relocation also means they will benefit from the world-class performance support services at the team’s HQ, and although they will be residentially based in the UK, they too will benefit from the establishment of the European training base – as will our track sprint, mountain bike and BMX riders.”
Programmes director Andy Harrison said: “The Great Britain Cycling Team has set the standard by which others are measured but the strategies that have sustained success over the last 10 years will not necessarily keep us winning over the next 10.
“These changes are part of wider look at what is needed to ensure the Great Britain Cycling Team continues to meet the standards expected of it.
“We have to respond to a number of challenges – not least among them is the need to ensure this country’s best riders have the best chance to realise their potential.
"But we must also look at delivering value for the investment we receive from UK Sport and our commercial partners as well as continuing to win in an increasingly competitive international environment.”
Applications for the Junior Academy and Senior Academy will open in July.