As part of Canyon//SRAM’s press to be more diverse and inclusive, still the only team who is making this an active statement and driving the D&I conversation forward after admitting there was more which can be done in their own team, today announces a new development team. This two-tier structure will be the first of its kind for a European-based WorldTeam creating a formal pathway to the Women’s World Tour.
CANYON//SRAM Racing will register the development team as a UCI Continental Team. Scholarships will be offered to eight riders that includes supervised training, individual coaching, mentorship, structured racing program, and stagiaire opportunities at CANYON//SRAM Racing. Off the bike, riders will enter the team’s Diversity and Inclusion program as well as benefit from an infrastructure formed to support top performance. Rider recruitment focus will be on, but not limited to, Africa, Asia, and South America.
For the first time here, we’re seeing the focus shifting from not only Black riders in Africa but also to riders our in Asia, which also has a huge talent pool not only for the track racing which is a big attraction in Japan and China but also hidden talent in India and Pakistan.
Ronny Lauke, Founder and Team Manager at CANYON//SRAM Racing says, “Since the beginning of CANYON//SRAM Racing we were always motivated to create opportunities for women from all over the globe to enter the sport of professional women’s cycling. We focused on transferring the latest performance knowledge and science from our staff and partners so athletes can become the best version of themselves.”
Canyon//SRAM are no stranger to doing things differently, in the past they have welcomed riders through the ZWIFT academy, Lauke continues “With Zwift, we started the CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy and every year we have motivated more women to compete for the available spot on our team and are convinced this has had a positive impact on the growing numbers of female cyclists.”
Christine Kalkschmid, CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Team Development and Diversity and Inclusion expert, says “Cycling in general and professional women‘s cycling, in particular, is not accessible for many women around the world. At CANYON//SRAM Racing our goal is not only to become more diverse and inclusive as a team. We want to make an impact to the sport of cycling by developing and fostering promising talents that currently have no or only limited access to cycling.”
The CANYON//SRAM Racing development team will provide another pathway to the Women’s World Tour, running alongside the innovative CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy that approaches its seventh year.
Lisa Bourne, Senior Director – Diversity, Inclusion, & Social Impact at Zwift: “Through our long-standing relationship with the Zwift Academy program, it’s safe to say CANYON//SRAM Racing are no strangers to talent identification. It’s fantastic to see the team now also investing that expertise to provide new opportunities to communities that have traditionally not had the network of support to help them break into professional cycling. This new pathway will not only provide new opportunities to existing female racers but will help inspire future generations.”
American Canyon//SRAM rider Alexis Ryan, who has been a member of the team since inception in 2016, is excited to see the team expand further “It’s inspiring to me, and hopefully others, to see the team take this next step. There is no example to follow, and I’m sure there will be road blocks along the way, but I believe the whole cycling world will be watching and supporting this journey. This will have a massive impact on the future of women’s cycling. We will see the diversity and depth in competition reach new heights. This is the start of making cycling a truly global sport.”
Changes to companies and work to be more diverse and inclusive rarely, if ever, happen over night. These things take time. The work which Canyon//SRAM have done in such a short space of time, since the employment of Christine Kalkschmid has been some of the most progressive by any company who made a Black Lives Matter statement. Canyon//SRAM were rocked by the signing of Chloe Dygert and they made a promise to try and put things right. With initiatives and work like this, they’re certainly on the right track.