Some big news out of the US is that Cannondale Cycling and World Tour cycling team Education First Pro Cycling have announced that they will work with USA Cycling to launch two new cycling programs at one HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) and one TCU (Tribal Colleges & Universities) with the purpose of increasing diversity in Collegiate cycling.
This announcement comes with good timing, Pusher of Pedals strongly criticised ASO and the UCI with their complete lack of acknowledgment of the Black Lives Matter movement in cycling, the scribblings on face masks at the Tour was pathetic.
Less than one percent of riders at all three Grand Tours this year were Black, a huge lack of diversity and possibly the least diverse sport in the world.
As co-founding members of this project with USA Cycling, Cannondale and EF Pro Cycling believe in the importance of inclusion in the cycling community. In year one, the team and Cannondale will support co-ed cycling teams at these schools through equipment, funding, and mentorship.
“We believe that cycling is for everyone. Yet, in reality, not everyone feels welcome or has access today,” said Mary Wittenberg, EF Pro Cycling President. ”We want to help increase diversity in our sport, starting with racial diversity in cycling in the USA. Success will require a comprehensive approach across the industry, so we turned to USA Cycling to talk about how we could best target our energies in concert with others looking to help from grade school to masters-age athletes.”
After the launch of two programs, Cannondale and the team hope to broaden the program in the years to come. The goal is to build long-lasting programs for students to experience the benefits of cycling as well as foster inclusivity, community, and adventure.
“USA Cycling, as the Governing Body for our sport, believes we have a unique opportunity to grow participation in cycling. As part of our investment in rebuilding Collegiate Cycling, we are thrilled to be starting this program with EF and Cannondale. Cycling has many of the challenges seen across our society today and we believe working directly with the HBCU and TCU communities we can begin to open doors with the help of partners in our industry,” said Rob DeMartini, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling.
In a continued effort to support this initiative, Cannondale, EF Pro Cycling, and USAC will host a raffle to win one of the Rapha + Palace + Cannondale collab bikes ridden by EF Pro Cycling at the recent Giro d’Italia. This is a rare chance to own a piece of cycling history and provide support in continuing to help build HBCU and TCU cycling programs. Net proceeds from the raffle will be in addition to the contributions made to help fund these programs.
Given that the Rapha + Palace jerseys were seen on eBay very shortly after both websites sold out of stock for more than $600, you can assume the bikes will go for a pretty penny, too.
Two winners will be randomly selected to receive one of these limited team edition bicycles. The sweepstakes will run for several weeks during the height of the giving season, and winners will be announced in December at the completion of the donation period.
It finally seems as if someone in Cycling is taking the lack of diversity seriously, but should it be on teams alone to bring this to the fore or should the Governing bodies be doing more to drive up diversity levels?