British Cycling has announced its performance pathway structure has undergone a rebranding as the national federation plans for success at the in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The major changes have been made "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."
A training base will be established in Italy by the end of 2015 which will host the academy endurance squad for greater access in Men's Under 23 racing. The base will also be available to the full British squad for training, including mountain biking. After breaking the UCI Hour Record, Bradley Wiggins will become a part of the Great Britain endurance track squad leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The likes of Pete Kennaugh, Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard all developed during seasons in Italy as part of the Under 23 Academy programme.
Technical director Shane Sutton explained the reason for the changes.
"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," Sutton said.
"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."
Women's squad returns to Manchester
Joining the endurance academy coaching team is Brian Stephens who previously worked with the Australian national under-23 men’s road programme. Stephens will work with Chris Newton and Keith Lambert.The women’s academy endurance squad will have a permanent home in Manchester from September following the temporary use of a base in Newport with the aim to increase the number of women racing.
"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," performance pathway manager Ian Yates said. "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."
British Cycling's programmes director Andy Harrison added that the federation has been the benchmark for the last decade but no success will come if thy simply rest on their laurels.
"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," Harrison said. "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."