Nov 03, 12:54 pm

British Cycling is pleased to confirm plans for a second European training base in Belgium which will be used by the Great Britain Cycling Team from the beginning of 2017.

The choice of venue will allow the team greater access to road racing in northern Europe as well as increased variation in training opportunities. In particular, the establishment of the training base in Belgium will significantly widen the racing opportunities available to women’s senior academy riders following the launch of Team Breeze in January.

The confirmation of the second training location, builds on the success of the base established in Montichiari, Italy which has allowed members of the Great Britain Cycling Team, especially the men’s senior academy, access to the European U23 racing calendar.

The concept of European training bases, was one that British Cycling previously had in place producing the likes of Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh so successfully.

Performance Pathway manager, Ian Yates, said:

“This is just the latest in a long line of improvements that we are implementing as we continue to build towards Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“While the women’s senior academy squad will spend a lot of time there, the base will also serve to benefit other programmes and disciplines.

“The base in Italy has been a success for the men’s senior academy and the progress of the riders, both in terms of their cycling performance, but also their personal development has been encouraging to see and is something we are aiming to build on in Belgium.”

The Great Britain Cycling Team senior academy is the final rung on the ladder for riders aiming to step up to the podium squad.  With many of the riders who won medals at the Olympic Games yet to return to competitive action, many of the senior academy have represented the Great Britain Cycling Team at the first UCI Track Cycling World Cups of the season.

The team topped the medal table at both events winning a combined total of nine medals, including seven golds. Only one of these medals, Elinor Barker’s win in the points race in Apeldoorn, was not won with involvement from a senior academy rider.

The creation of Team Breeze earlier this year has allowed riders from the women’s senior academy to compete in British Cycling National Road Race Championships, Women’s Road Series, Track World Cups and the Revolution series in 2016, with a number of the riders also selected to represent the Great Britain Cycling Team at international races including the UEC European Road Championships and the UCI Road World Championships, The Women’s Tour and the Tour de Yorkshire.

Women’s Endurance coach, Chris Newton added:

“The women’s endurance squad has made real progress over the last 12 months with the success of the programme being highlighted by the strength of the Great Britain Cycling Team at both the UCI Road World Championships in Doha and the UEC Road European Championships in France.

“We have identified the importance of continuing to expose the riders to a world class standard of road racing and this base in Belgium gives us the opportunity to do that.”

Senior academy rider, Annasley Park, who represented the Great Britain Cycling Team at the recent UCI Road World Championships in Qatar, said:

“This European base is something that I feel can have a massively positive influence on my development as a rider. I have really progressed since joining the senior academy last year but my recent experience at the UCI Road World Championships has highlighted how much I can still improve.

“Racing against some of the best riders across Europe can only accelerate my progress and that of my teammates and I can’t wait to get out there and experience it.”

Julian Winn will also support the senior academy programme as part of his role as women’s road directeur sportif.

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