New young rider support program launched: Introducing the AusCycling Development Academies


AusCycling has launched a new development academy program aimed at providing a supporting step for young rider progression across all cycling disciplines.

The AusCycling Development Academies (Academies) have been developed as a component of the pre-performance pathway.

The Academies seek to identify, develop, and support riders in targeted age groups, to acquire the attributes required to progress through the performance pathways on and off the bike.

Additionally, the AusCycling Development Academies will also provide key opportunities for coaching development progression.

AusCycling Executive General Manager of Sport Kipp Kaufmann noted that there will be a focus on providing and facilitating crucial opportunities for cross-discipline crossover.

“As an example, all mountain bike Academy riders are automatically invited to the road Academy,” Kaufmann said.

“Operationally the Academies will provide targeted training sessions or camps and personal development opportunities (off the bike).

“A widespread and increased pool of talent is key to future high-performance ambitions and that derives from nurturing our talent at critical development phases to the best of our ability.”

Included in the mountain bike Academies is gravity enduro, a sub-discipline which AusCycling Pathways Manager of Mountain Bike and Cyclo-cross Evan James expects to receive plenty of demand.

“The mountain bike program allows a wider age range for the gravity disciplines, as a result of limited development opportunities currently existing,” James said.

“One of the primary benefits of the Academies will be the simple factor of bringing athletes together and supporting their development.

“There tends to be a lot of athletes at the higher end of the performance scale that are isolated in location without other riders around them but bringing them all together into camps just makes a massive difference and allows them to ride together.

“We expect that the mountain bike program will be more about short camps spread throughout the year, bringing people together, riding together, training together, and doing other development activities as a cohort with people they don’t normally get to be around.”

AusCycling Sport Manager – BMX, Luke Madill said the Academies will focus more on the development of the athlete rather than placing 100 per cent of the support emphasis on specific events.

“Ensuring that riders have the appropriate skills to progress is essential to progress into the performance pathway,” Madill said.

“We’ve noticed that once riders are getting to the performance stages, they just don’t have all the skills and the psychological knowledge they need to bridge the gap.

“These Academies now will start to identify critical skill progression so that riders are able to develop them in their formative years, as a result we envision they notice the transition is easier and that they won’t leave the sport because of the progression gap.”

Bridging the gap between club programs and athletes moving through the traditional pathways for high-performance is the core goal of the Academies, as AusCycling Pathways Manager of Road, Track, Esports and Para-cycling Amanda O’Connor explained.

“We are passionate about these Academies; I know that in the state that I live in (Western Australia) we had a similar system in the past which helped bring through athletes such as Cameron and Travis Meyer, Luke Durbridge, Michael Freiberg and Jess Allen – all of those young athletes that really needed and benefited from this level of development before moving through into the performance pathway,” O’Connor said.

“If we can replicate a successful system like that around the nation, then we are in an incredible position in a few years' time to move those athletes through into higher levels of competition and success.

“These Academies are absolutely imperative, and I think that after the first couple of years of delivering them on the ground, we are going to see some fantastic results.”

Visit the AusCycling Development Academies page to learn more.

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