CANYON//SRAM Racing makes one of its most exciting announcements as it reveals it will start a new development team as part of its long-term diversity and inclusion program. Set to launch in 2022, the team will be in addition to the CANYON//SRAM Racing Women’s WorldTeam. This two-tier structure will be the first of its kind for a European-based WorldTeam creating a formal pathway to the Women’s World Tour.
CANYON//SRAM Racing will register the development team as a UCI Continental Team. Scholarships will be offered to eight riders that includes supervised training, individual coaching, mentorship, structured racing program, and stagiaire opportunities at CANYON//SRAM Racing. Off the bike, riders will enter the team’s Diversity and Inclusion program as well as benefit from an infrastructure formed to support top performance. Rider recruitment focus will be on, but not limited to, Africa, Asia, and South America. The openings for the scholarships will be publicly announced in the coming weeks.
Ronny Lauke, Founder and Team Manager at CANYON//SRAM Racing says, “Since the beginning of CANYON//SRAM Racing we were always motivated to create opportunities for women from all over the globe to enter the sport of professional women’s cycling. We focused on transferring the latest performance knowledge and science from our staff and partners so athletes can become the best version of themselves. We also looked at unique pathways to enter the sport. With Zwift, we started the CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy and every year we have motivated more women to compete for the available spot on our team and are convinced this has had a positive impact on the growing numbers of female cyclists. We have understood that we need to do more and are excited to be able to present the CANYON//SRAM Racing development team. With this team we are opening another unique pathway that talents from countries that are underrepresented in the women’s peloton can use and receive full support on a daily basis. We are very much looking forward to this new chapter and are confident that our impact and help to lower entry barriers and to give the sport a change will motivate many more women to enter the beautiful sport of cycling.”
Christine Kalkschmid, CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Team Development and Diversity and Inclusion expert, is thrilled the team can finally make the news public.
“At CANYON//SRAM Racing our goal is not only to become more diverse and inclusive as a team. We want to make an impact to the sport of cycling.
Cycling in general and professional women‘s cycling, in particular, is not accessible for many women around the world. Our goal is to make the sport diverse and inclusive by developing and fostering promising talents that currently have no or only limited access to cycling.
The launch of the CANYON//SRAM development team is a major stepping stone for us. We are convinced that this team will show that if you provide a professional surrounding, talents from all over the world can successfully step up to a UCI Women’s WorldTeam.”
CANYON//SRAM Racing rider Alexis Ryan says, “It’s inspiring to me, and hopefully others, to see the team take this next step. There is no example to follow, and I’m sure there will be road blocks along the way, but I believe the whole cycling world will be watching and supporting this journey.
This will have a massive impact on the future of women’s cycling. We will see the diversity and depth in competition reach new heights. This is the start of making cycling a truly global sport.”
The CANYON//SRAM Racing development team is made possible by the strengthened commitment and financial contribution from the team’s co-title partner, Canyon Bicycles. Extending its commitment until at least the end of 2023, Canyon also increased its financial support enabling CANYON//SRAM Racing to set up the development team as part of its diversity and inclusion program.
Roman Arnold, Founder of Canyon Bicycles: “Engaging with professional teams and athletes at Canyon is core to driving the development of our bikes; but we do it out of our love for the sport and a desire to bring new fans and riders in, from all backgrounds. Making it as a professional cyclist is never easy, and it’s almost impossible for riders who don’t have access to the support networks they need. Through the CANYON//SRAM development program we look to help change that by identifying and nourishing new female racing talent to achieve its full potential from across the globe. I cannot wait to see what they achieve.”
As mentioned by Lauke, the CANYON//SRAM Racing development team will provide another pathway to the Women’s World Tour, running alongside the innovative CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy that approaches its seventh year.
Lisa Bourne, Senior Director – Diversity, Inclusion, & Social Impact at Zwift: “Through our long-standing relationship with the Zwift Academy program, it’s safe to say CANYON//SRAM Racing are no strangers to talent identification. It’s fantastic to see the team now also investing that expertise to provide new opportunities to communities that have traditionally not had the network of support to help them break into professional cycling. This new pathway will not only provide new opportunities to existing female racers but will help inspire future generations.”
Lauke adds, “Diversity and inclusion require a long-term commitment. We have set ourselves ambitious goals and we are ready to drive this forward with all our strength to not only make CANYON//SRAM Racing a more diverse and inclusive team, but also to make the sport of cycling a truly diverse and inclusive sport. The development team will officially start on 1 January, 2022 though we have already been working hard on this project for several months. From 2023, we aim that one rider per year from the CANYON//SRAM Racing development team makes the step into a UCI Women’s WorldTeam, including but not limited to CANYON//SRAM Racing.”
Further details of the development team, including its name and application openings, will be available in the coming weeks.