British Cycling has confirmed that a Great Britain team will once again be entered in the European Youth Olympic Festival, which for the first time in its history will include racing for girls in the cycling events.
Held every second year, the festival (EYOF), is set to take place in Utrecht in the Netherlands 13-19 July and a total of nine sports will come together to compete for their nations over the course of the event.
The Great Britain Cycling Team will select a full squad of three girls and three boys to compete in both the time trial and road race.
Performance Manager for the Olympic Talent Programme Gary Coltman is delighted to see the inclusion of the girls and is confident that both the boys and girls teams will be competitive in both events.
“We have had a lot of success in the EYOF over the past seven years and as far as we are concerned, the inclusion of the girls will provide us with even more opportunities to shine as a nation,” Coltman said.
Coltman added that whilst medals will be welcomed, the emphasis for Great Britain will be on the development opportunity that the event provides.
“The experience that the young athletes gain from being at a multi-sport games that is organised very much in line with that of the Olympics is invaluable should they go on to represent Great Britain a in senior Games."
“The key thing about the whole event is the experience,” Coltman said.
“The experience that the young athletes gain from being at a multi-sport games that is organised very much in line with that of the Olympics is invaluable should they go on to represent Great Britain a in senior Games.
“Of course the riders want to win, that’s why they are in the sport and we wouldn’t want it any other way. But our focus is for them to experience and learn from the event that will better prepare them for the future.”
Great Britain has enjoyed a successful history in the competition. In 2005 Adam Blythe collected silver in the road race before in 2007 George Atkins (now part of Great Britain’s Academy Programme) won the criterium.
In 2009 Josh Papworth repeated the criterium win with Jon Dibben, also part of Great Britain’s Academy, claimed the sliver in the same event.
Coltman feels that an approach with the emphasis away from the result but onto the experience and process has been a factor in the results the team have enjoyed in the past.
“Our objective has always been to focus on the process both on and off the bike, learn from the experience and become a better young cyclist as a result,” he commented.
“If medals are won that’s a bonus. It’s an approach that’s paid dividends in the past and the strategy that we will once again take into this year’s event in Holland, but this time with girls as well as boys!”
Selection for the event is open to all riders born in 1997 or 98, and the document can be found here.
Further information on this year's festival can be found at http://utrecht2013.com/en/.