Riders for 2008/09 Olympic Development Programme
Story posted December 16
By Larry Hickmott
The Endurance riders at the ODP coach lead racing day at Manchester last Saturday are briefed by Talent Team (North West) coach Matt Winston.
One of the keys to Great Britain’s success at this years Olympics has been the development programmes that were introduced by the GB Cycling Team management post Athens (2004). These programmes are designed to find the next Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Nicole Cooke or Victoria Pendleton.
Whilst riders like Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins reached the top without the aid of these development programmes, finding new talent to replace them when they retire, or push them to greater heights to keep their place in the team, is important to the continued success of the Great Britain Cycling Team. Take Beijing where in the Team Pursuit, half of that Gold medal winning squad were from a Great Britain performance development programme.
The performance programmes for the Great Britain Cycling team starts in Talent Team and from there, riders can graduate to the Olympic Development Programme (ODP), then the Academy Programme and finally the Podium Programme.
Olympic Development riders such as Sam Harrison getting stuck into a coach lead race along with a group of invited Talent Team riders.
In Beijing, we saw two examples of how these programmes were successful in helping young riders fulfil their potential and ambitions in the sport. Steven Burke and Jason Kenny have over the years been given the coaching and racing needed to help them make the most of their talent on two wheels. In Beijing they medalled at their first Olympiad and showed what great prospects they are for the future.
As well as the success of Steven Burke and Jason Kenny, the ODP has helped many other riders make the most of their ability to become a success in their chosen discipline. Riders who have come through the female endurance programme (Development) have now experienced podium placings at both the Manchester and Melbourne World Cups and Joanna Rowsell is a World Champion in the Team Pursuit.
Another great success for a former Olympic Development rider, and one that was away from the Track where the team have had such success in the last four years, was the Bronze medal by Jonny Bellis in the 2007 World Road Race Championships for Under 23. It was the first medal on the road (Male Road Race) since Max Sciandri's Olympic bronze in the 1996 road race and Jonny's Bronze was followed by a fourth place in the same event by Ben Swift this year, another rider who has come through the OlympiC Development Programme.
This highlights the work that is done in these performance programmes to build the foundations at junior level to help riders achieve. And the Team knows there are many more young stars like the aforementioned ones out there waiting to be discovered and given the opportunity to achieve their goals in cycling.
Whilst the Endurance riders were involved in a coach lead racing weekend, the Sprinters, lead here by a great prospect in Becky James, trained under the watchful eye of Iain Dyer.
Each year, riders on the programmes are assessed and some are kept on their current programme, some will move on to the next programme (up a level) whilst others will be released from the cycling team programme. Riders for the Olympic Development Programme for 2008/09 have been selected and they are:
Grant Ferguson (MTB)
Kenta Gallagher (MTB)
Ruby Miller (MTB & Track)
Below: Some of the new riders in the Development Programme for 2008-09 are Callum Skinner, Jon Mould, Kevin Stewart and Tim Kennaugh.
The new ODP squad will be run in similar fashion to previous years with endurance riders focussing on Track or MTB with Road underpinning these disciplines and Sprint riders focusing on either Track or BMX (selection process currently ongoing for BMX).
The objectives of the Development programme is to supply the Academy Programme with technically and tactically skilled riders. To meet this objective, the ODP provides riders with specialist training and coaching support and national and international racing opportunities across all Olympic disciplines.
2008 was an amazing year for British cycling and the interest in the sport is now phenomenal. The success is also a big inspiration for the riders that have been invited onto the ODP or are knocking on the door. For the latter, the Team are keen for them to know that the door is not closed and the Great Britain Cycling Team will continue to work with guest riders.
These are riders who haven't quite reached the standard required to be selected for the ODP but will be invited to training camps and coach lead racing events over the winter where there performances will be monitored and they’re applications to join the ODP will be reviewed.
The door onto the ODP or any of the Performance Programmes is never shut and there are always opportunities to gain a place on a programme or be selected for major championships. Looking ahead to 2009, there are many exciting championships (World and European) and events planned for the riders in the ODP which will hopefully provide the riders with the motivation to work hard and follow the examples of others that have preceded them.
Talent Team riders looking to impress and get an invite onto the programme.