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Given Jack Reading’s perspective on the lack of support for downhill just last year, does this mean things are about to change for the better?
The consultation took place in December 2019. The process involved talking to coaches, riders, commissaries and a wider variety of people to get their views. British Cycling worked with Welsh and Scottish Cycling as well as councillors, collating responses from 17,000 people. Following this process, British Cycling released a long-term plan for 2021-26 but say many of the objectives will take more time to achieve.
The main goals British Cycling have in regards to gravity MTB are:
- More people cycling.
- More people competing.
- Develop a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
- Develop a world-class talent pipeline.
- Maximise elite success.
- Improve the number and variety of places to ride gravity disciplines.
- Work more closely with the MTB gravity community.
- Showcase our passion for MTB gravity.
In 2019 British Cycling found that 90% of downhill riders were male with 10% female. According to the plans, a few of the goals, both in terms of the ambitions and how they hope to achieve them include:
- Contribute to the national target of a 40% increase in the number of females competing in events and competitions.
- Contribute to the national target of a 50% increase in the number of under-16s participating across all competitions.
- Create a regional and national youth academy supporting MTB gravity riders.
- Creating partnerships with all home country forestry agencies.
- Investigating ways of securing future capital investment to enhance and improve MTB trails.
You can see the full gravity plan here.
We’re phenomenally proud of the success which British riders have achieved in gravity disciplines over recent years, helping us to establish ourselves as a world-leading nation and inspiring the next generation of Rachel Athertons and Reece Wilsons in the process.
If we want our riders to continue performing at the very highest level, we know that we must put the right foundations in place. I’m delighted to see how the plans for each of the disciplines have come together and want to extend my thanks to everybody who has contributed throughout the process. Like all of you, I look forward to watching the gravity discipline grow and flourish at all levels in the years to come.Stephen Park OBE, Performance Director Great Britain Cycling Team
Where endurance is concerned (enduro/XC) British Cycling’s goals are:
- More people cycling
- More people competing
- Develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce
- Develop a world-class talent pipeline
- Supporting the best British talent towards success on the world stage.
- Expand provision and signpost mountain bikers to accessible places to ride across the country.
- Build better relationships with the mountain bike community and our partners.
- Demonstrate a passion for every aspect of mountain biking.
The plan for endurance disciplines follows a lot of the same goals as gravity, but a few of the key points they want to achieve and how are:
- Identify baselines and set targets for the number of riders participating in MTB, including; age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and riders from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
- Strengthening the pathway for disabled riders by understanding the barriers and developing actions to address them.
- Developing a regional and national calendar offering a good variety of accessible MTB racing opportunities.
- Recruit 8 female and 8 male MTB riders onto the Junior Academy programme.
- Recruit 12 female and 12 male riders to the National Talent MTB programme.
See the full endurance plan here.
I’m really pleased to present our first long-term strategic plan for MTB endurance, which sets out the key challenges in front of us and our plans to address them. While the recovery from Covid-19 will be our immediate priority, I’m incredibly excited by what lies beyond that, as we seek to capitalise on the discipline’s popularity and ensure that we are doing all we can to make it an accessible and appealing option for new riders.
We are blessed with an incredibly passionate and knowledgeable group of volunteers, ambassadors and stakeholders in the MTB endurance community, and a key part of delivering this plan will be ensuring that we duly recognise, listen to and invest in these people. We’re determined to learn from and work with others to grow the sport, and I look forward to meeting many of you as we set off on the journey.Dani Every, Cycling Delivery Director at British Cycling.
Gravity Development Centres
British Cycling have announced the creation of new gravity development centres to facilitate and foster young talent in mountain biking. With the hope to create seven centres in the next few months, the first is now open in Rushmere Country Park.
The creation of the centres is all part of their wider plans for the gravity disciplines. Each hub will have coaching sessions for young riders aged 12-16, and the most talented will be invited to attend regional and national development sessions.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for Firecrest MTB’s Young Rider Development Programme (known as DeVo) to be the first Talent Development Centre for gravity. The DeVo programme has always been a passion of mine and to be able to line it up with British Cycling’s programmes has been a long term goal.
The programme has already seen a number of riders go on to do big things with Phil Atwill being one of the programme’s most successful alumni and this is a fantastic opportunity for more to do the same. The focus of DeVo has always been on working with riders of all ages and abilities to get the most from mountain biking and I look forward to developing the next generation of riders and working closely with British Cycling going forward.Ian Warby, Firecrest Mountain Biking.
The next session is coming up on 3 July. You can find further details here.
All of this plays into the #EveryoneWins campaign, British Cycling’s latest campaign to encourage more people to take part in events, as well as celebrate grassroots racing in all disciplines.
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