British Cycling can today announce the first of its network of Gravity Talent Development Centres, which have been designed to provide an accessible and inclusive pathway for talented riders, supporting them to progress from clubs through to trade teams and representing Great Britain.
The first hub is now operational in Rushmere Country Park (Bedfordshire, British Cycling Central Region), offering regular coached sessions for riders aged 12-16 to hone their mountain bike gravity skills, with an ambition to increase the number of locations across the country to seven over the coming months.
The most talented riders from the hub sessions will be given the opportunity to attend regional and national development sessions, with the long-term goal of supporting them towards competing for Great Britain and securing opportunities to ride for professional trade teams.
The hubs form part of British Cycling’s long-term plan for the gravity disciplines, which was published earlier this month as part of the organisation’s new Everyone Wins campaign, and covers all aspects of the discipline including facility provision, volunteers, diversity and performance at the highest level for Great Britain.
At the 2020 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang a total of six British riders finished within the top 11 places in the junior men’s category, demonstrating the talent of today’s young riders who are seeking to follow in the footsteps of Rachel Atherton, Danny Hart and others who have topped podiums across the world in recent years.
Michael Vickers, British Cycling Talent Development Coach and MTB Downhill and 4X Coordinator, said:
“We’ve seen some incredible results in the downhill disciplines over recent years, and through the new Gravity Development Centres we want to provide the champions of tomorrow with an accessible and competitive environment as they forge their own paths to the top.
“We’re thankful to our partners and colleagues in the Central Region for their support in getting the first hub up and running, and we’ve been really encouraged by the appetite for riders to get involved and the level of technical skills on display. As we increase the number of the centres through the remainder of the year we hope that they will help us to further boost the standard of our national series and championships and provide riders with a really competitive environment to develop.”
Ian Warby of Firecrest Mountain Biking, said;
“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.”