‘Smart investment and better infrastructure’ can future-proof the success of cycling, says NGB
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‘Smart investment and better infrastructure’ can future-proof the success of cycling, says NGB

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British Cycling will lobby for “smart investment and better infrastructure” in a bid to capitalise on Team GB’s exceptional performance at Rio 2016.

Great Britain’s track cycling team smashed UK Sport’s maximum target of 10 medals by going one better, with standout performances by Laura Trott and Jason Kenny.

The national governing body’s (NGBs) president Bob Howden said that cycling had “once again captured the nation’s imagination” and that there was a “growing appetite to get more people on bikes”.

“We will continue to campaign for stronger political leadership, smart investment and better infrastructure,” he added.

Over the past seven years, British Cycling has ploughed more than £10m (US$13.3m, €11.8m) of Sport England funds into the building and renovation of purpose-built cycling facilities.

However, the body’s chief executive Ian Drake said there was “still work to do in order to create a comprehensive network of facilities”, while in April one of Team GB’s gold medal-winning athletes, Joanna Rowsell-Shand told Sports Management that more facilities would improve potential athletes’ chances further.

“I’d like to see more facilities in the UK,” she said. “We’ve currently got five indoor velodromes, but [I want] more road circuits. It must be so easy to build tarmac roads, I don’t understand why we don’t have more of them.”

In terms of funding, British Cycling received sizeable chunks from both UK Sport and Sport England over the organisations’ latest respective cycles. The former provided £30.3m (US$39.4m, €35m) of National Lottery and exchequer funding for elite cycling over the Rio cycle, while Sport England pledged £32m (US$42.2m, €37.4m) to the sport’s grassroots element.

While the sport will expect to command a similarly large pot from UK Sport going into the Tokyo 2020 cycle off the back of a stellar summer, funding for all NGBs from Sport England is slightly up in the air as it gets ready to scrap its Whole Sport Plan method of investment in favour of outcome-focused funding based on the government’s sport strategy, which takes into account the sport's impact on mental health and social inclusion, among other things.

Sport England had funded British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme, which produced two-thirds of Rio’s amply-decorated cycling squad. The initiative provides opportunities for young people to improve their skills and receive coaching as they aim for elite success.

Howden added: “For children to be able to see a clear pathway to the top of the sport, and be able to admire Olympic champions who have followed that path, is inspirational, and gives us a great opportunity to encourage more young people to take up cycling, whether competitively or recreationally.”

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British Cycling will lobby for “smart investment and better infrastructure” in a bid to capitalise on Team GB’s exceptional performance at Rio 2016.
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