By Ryan Dabbs
UCI Women's WorldTour team Canyon-SRAM have received 239 applications from 62 different countries to compete for their new development team, Canyon-SRAM Generation.
Just eight places are available for the development squad though, with the German team now facing a tough task to finalise their roster ahead of the 2022 season.
The application process aimed to promote diversity within cycling, with a focus placed on discovering talent from Africa, Asia and South America. While applicants could be from anywhere in the world, Canyon-SRAM were hoping to provide opportunities to riders who might not otherwise have the chance to race at a high level due to their circumstances.
Canyon-SRAM’s diversity and inclusion expert Christine Kalkschmid said: “We expected quite some applications as the possibility to join Canyon-SRAM Generation was a unique opportunity, but we were overwhelmed by the number of applications.
"Not only by the sheer number but also the fact that we had applications from so many different nations, from all continents, through a wide variety of ages, and from all different backgrounds."
We received 239 applications from riders of 62 different nationalities for our new team, CANYON//SRAM Generation.“We had applications from so many different nations, from all continents, through a wide variety of ages, and from all different backgrounds.” Christine Kalkschmid. pic.twitter.com/vXmcMzyZL6November 23, 2021
The team shared on Twitter a map outlining where applications in the world came from, with Europe, North America and Australia understandably providing the bulk of prospective riders. However, applications also arrived from nations such as Ethiopia, Namibia and Bangladesh, proving that the aim of the project was a success.
Canyon-SRAM team manager Ronny Lauke expressed the learning experience creating this new team has provided him with, helping him to understand how difficult it is for some riders to make it professional around the world.
He said: “Each application had its own story that was worth listening to. They also helped us understand much better how big the gap for athletes in certain parts of the world is between starting in the sport and having the chance to get an opportunity to train and race full time as a professional cyclist.
“I had no expectation really on a specific number of applications but I was very curious to see how many athletes were interested to become part of this team. The number indicates there is a high demand, and it shows there are many athletes all over the world that don’t get the opportunity to show their willpower and talent.”
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