There’s excellent news today for cycling in Western Australia, the home state of Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley.
After pausing for two years, the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) cycling program will restart under a partnership between AusCycling and WAIS announced today.
Recruitment for a head coach of endurance cycling will begin within two weeks, filling a role that’s been vacant since 2020.
The revived WAIS program will align with AusCycling’s national strategy and will expose athletes to a mix of track cycling, road cycling and mountain biking.
Track sprinters and BMX riders will be supported through talent identification, individual scholarships and a camps-based approach that integrates regional academies.
It’s a win for up-and-coming bike riders in WA, who will have a clear development pathway from local clubs and the newly-created AusCycling Development Academies all the way up to joining fellow West Australians like Sam Welsford and Cameron Meyer on the Australian Cycling Team.
The partnership between AusCycling and WAIS is the latest success for the sport in Western Australia. It follows the elevation of Nannup’s ‘SEVEN’ gravel race to UCI level, and the awarding of the AusCycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships to Dwellingup in 2020 and 2021.
AusCycling’s CEO Marne Fechner said partnerships like this would enable more West Australians to realise their full potential as bike riders.
“Western Australia has a history of producing incredible cyclists, and AusCycling’s partnership with WAIS will allow us to continue finding and nurturing that talent to the national level and beyond,” Fechner said.
“Between bringing world-class events to WA, supporting young riders through our new junior development academies, and reinvigorating our partnership with WAIS, we’re excited about the role that AusCycling is playing to grow cycling and riding in WA.
“Thriving clubs, clear pathways for athletes, coaches and officials, along with local heroes are central to our future success.”
Under the partnership, AusCycling plans to establish a regional academy to support Perth clubs by 2024.
In addition, AusCycling will connect WAIS scholarship holders with professional cyclists through Q&A sessions.
WAIS Chief Executive Steve Lawrence said, “WA has a long and proud history in the sport of cycling.
“We are excited to partner with AusCycling in this redesigned program that will provide the opportunity for talented cyclists across all disciplines to follow their sporting dreams.”
While Jai Hindley’s big win is the most prominent achievement in West Australian cycling recently, Tour de France stage winner Ben O’Connor, multiple grand tour stage winner Michael Storer and three-time Olympian Lauren Reynolds also hail from Australia’s largest state.
Four West Australians have been selected for next week’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham: Conor Leahy, Matthew Richardson, Luke Durbridge and tandem pilot Luke Zaccaria.
Feature photo: John Veage