Dave Rayner dinner goes virtual this weekend

The fund has helped some of the biggest names in British cycling at the start of their careers

The Dave Rayner fund will host an online event on social media this weekend and want you to get involved. Instead of it’s annual dinner and auction in Leeds, the fund want to flood social media with messages, memories and photos with the hashtags #RaynerDinner2020 and #DaveRaynerFund.

There will be a video message from one very special former rider while others are expected to post messages on their own feeds using the hashtags.

If you’ve been to a dinner, met a rider formerly backed by the fund (see list below), ridden the Etape du Dales sportive, or were a funded rider, they’re asking you to post the memory online to build the story. Or you can just wish them well from the safety of your own home this Saturday evening.

You can also donate via their website, knowing that all money goes toward developing young riders by placing them in foreign teams for a season.

This year the fund, which recently became a registered charity, sent forty riders to live and race abroad. While all of them had to return early in the season due to lockdowns many returned and enjoyed some level of racing. And they’re in demand for 2021. “A lot of the French teams are desperate for British riders as more and more of them are doing well.” Rider liaison Joscelin Ryan said. “The French teams especially. They’re really good for the riders as they look after them so well.”

Despite the pandemic and subsequent hit on under-23 racing their rider Jake Stewart made the step up to WorldTour, and did so mid season. Stewart, who writes a column in CW magazine, was thrown in at the deep end, making his debut with Groupama-FDJ at Ghent Wevelgem after two seasons with their development squad.

While the lack of racing meant it wasn’t a stellar year for the fund’s 2020 cohort, their alumni went on to great things this season. Adam Yates pulled on the yellow jersey at the Tour de France and held it for four stages in to the Pyrenees. Yates rode in France as an amateur for UVCA Troyes and CC Etupes before turning professional in 2014.

Former Dave Rayner funded rider Tao Geoghegan Hart wins the Giro d’Italia 2020 (Luca Bettini/AFP via Getty Images)

An event page can be found on their Facebook page and you can find them on Twitter @DaveRaynerFund and Instagram @daveraynerfund

But the fund’s biggest success was when Tao Geoghagen Hart rode to victory on the final stage of the Giro d’Italia in Milan. Geoghegan Hart spent three years in America with Axel Merckx’s Axeon Hagens team, during which time he was backed by the fund. “That made us enthusiastic all over again” Ryan said.

“We’re carrying on, and we’ve already received a good number of applications for next year. We had quite a lot of new ones [in 2020] who were only 18, and lots of them have reapplied. We’re waiting to see what money comes in.” After the online event signed jerseys will be put up for auction. Always a highlight of the dinner, these can often raise thousands of pounds.

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