British Cycling to cut back under-23 squad road programme, targets two events

National federation cites ‘incredibly challenging financial landscape’

Leo Hayter at the under-23 road world championships 2022
(Image credit: Getty)

British Cycling is planning a reduced road calendar for its Great Britain Cycling Team (GBCT) Senior Academy riders in 2024, and could only send an under-23 team to the World and European Championships. 

As a result, it is expected that the national federation will forgo other key road events. These are likely to include Nations Cup rounds, the Tour of Britain and the Tour de l’Avenir, a flagship stage race of the under-23 calendar, which has seen the emergence of British talents such as Thomas Gloag, Tao Geoghegan Hart and the Yates brothers, Adam and Simon. 

In a statement shared with Cycling Weekly, Tom Stanton, the head of GBCT’s performance pathways, said: “We are currently finalising plans to evolve the existing Senior Academy Endurance Programme in response to the changing sporting landscape, and move to a model that forges stronger relationships with pro teams to effectively develop our country's best riders both on the road and on the track.

“While we are still working through the final details of the 2023/24 programme, we expect to continue to send British riders to the UEC Under-23 European Road Championships and UCI Road World Championships, and will confirm additional race opportunities in due course.”

In recent years, young riders have moved away from the national federation for road racing, pursuing contracts with development, domestic and professional teams. 

Cycling Weekly understands that British Cycling will continue to support a full track programme for its Senior Academy riders, who will be expected to compete in road events primarily with their trade teams. 

The news of road calendar cutbacks comes at a time of financial insecurity for the British economy. “Along with many other national governing bodies,” Stanton explained, “British Cycling is facing an incredibly challenging financial landscape which is impacting all areas of our work.” 

For the most recent funding cycle, which covers 2021-2025, British Cycling received £28,855,762 from UK Sport; however, this money comes with an onus on the Olympics and Paralympics, with priority in spending focused on the Games themselves, as well as qualifying events such as the European and World Championships and the Nations Cups. While these are crucial for track qualification, road athletes qualify through the UCI rankings, where points can be accumulated with trade teams. 

In an interview with the RadioCycling podcast, GB Senior Academy coach Matt Brammeier said: “The money we get is all spent on winning medals at the Olympics and the Worlds, which is our kind of UK Sport target, which determines how much money the programme gets, and what we can do.

“The medals on the track are more controllable, there’s more of them, and there’s a higher percentage chance of winning them, which is why the majority of the focus goes there.

“With the road, we’re in a position where, essentially, we just can’t afford it anymore.”

It is estimated that the shortfall of the Senior Academy’s road programme is in the region of £120,000 to £150,000. The squad’s 2024 calendar is yet to be finalised, and will be announced by British Cycling “in due course”. 

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.