The BCF has come a long way since the very public, and costly, row with track champ and wannabe BCF president Tony Doyle.
Last year’s Olympic success, due in no small part to the lottery-funded World Class Performance Programme, which paid wages to athletes and provided top-class coaching, looks likely to be just the tip of the BCF’s ice-berg.
A new grass-roots programme to find the elite riders of tomorrow is to be launched in Easter 2002. This is in addition to the Raleigh-sponsored Get Set and Challenge series of ‘have a go’ races for children.
The lottery-funded World Class Start programme – costing £2m – will key directly into the national curriculum of English schools. Designed by a maths teacher, the programme involves short-course cycle time-trials to be staged on temporary 64m circular tracks on school playing fields.
Results have to be posted by the children (school years 8 and 9 ie 13-14 year olds) on a dedicated World Class Start website where they will be able to track their results in league tables at school, regional and national level.
The best riders will be invited to take further power output tests to spot those with true potential. 80+ children a year will be given free MTB, road and BMX bikes to further their bike handling skills.
Whilst the elite children will be filtered off, the programme aims to inculcate a love of cycling in all the 50 000+ participants, many of whom will be new to competitive cycling. The World Class Start website – and the whole programme – has been designed with the national curriculum in mind so involves IT and maths learning as well as testing physical prowess.
“This will flood the bottom end of cycling with new cyclists,” Philip Ingham, the BCF’s press officer, told bikebiz.co.uk today.
Bike suppliers and IBDs will be able to hook into the World Class Start programme via sponsoring parts of the website, becoming title sponsors of the whole programme or getting involved at a national or local level by supplying the bikes.
Qualified coaches will conduct the grass track testing and will take standardised bikes to the schools taking part in the programme.
As well as a new logo (seen here for the first time in public)the BCF is to also unveil a new URL, http://www.britishcycling.org.uk , which at the moment links in to its existing website, www.bcf.uk.com.