American cyclists from the state of Michigan now have the chance to be funded to race in Europe, courtesy of a new cycling scholarship program called the Euro-Devo Scholarship. Brian Adams, who raced with the Cycling Center in Belgium in 2001-2002, has organised the program. Now 32 and a physical therapist operating a sports medicine clinic for the University of Michigan, Adams hopes to subsidise four Michigan riders who plan to spend all or part of the 2006 season racing in Europe.
"Europe is where you need to go to cut your teeth," Adams said, adding that he hopes that the scholarship, which has been partially funded by Red Bull, will help create a pipeline to the Cycling Center (www.cyclingcenter.com), and other similar programs that offer organised European racing experience.
"With the talent these guys have, it would be a waste to not let these guys do it in an atmosphere like this," Adams said.
Adams said the scholarship program has multiple goals. In addition to helping offset the costs of racing full-time in Europe, he said he hopes Euro-Devo will generate a pool of interested and qualified riders that can be accepted at programs like the Cycling Center, and also to accelerate the growth and development of elite U23 racing in the state of Michigan.
Bernard Moerman, who directs the Cycling Center in Hertsberge, Belgium, said the Euro-Devo Scholarship will help ensure that talented young riders ready to race in Europe have the opportunity. "Brian knows first-hand how racing over here can help young riders develop the skills that they need to grow and possibly move on to professional teams," Moerman said. "There's no question that more talented riders - some who otherwise wouldn't be able to come here - will now have the chance to see if they have what it takes."
Support is being offered this year solely to riders from the state of Michigan, although Adams said he hopes to see the scholarship expand in the future. For more information, visit www.eurodevo.com