Sport England yesterday awarded a record £24.3 million to British Cycling for grass roots cycling development over the next four years. This brings the total invested in cycling in the past month to a staggering £50 million.
Early in December, the Sports Lottery awarded £26.92 million for British Cycling?s 2012 Olympic programme, reward for cycling topping Team GB?s medal table in Beijing.
This latest funding is part of Sport England?s £480 million awarded for grass roots sports, to get one million people active by 2012.
The £24.3m for cycling is a 96 per cent increase on the funding provided for the 2005 ? 2009 period, and is the second highest increase of the 46 sports eligible for funding. ?It?s brilliant news,? said Ian Drake, British Cycling?s CEO designate. ?We need to work through the details with Sport England but it should be a fantastic four years for the sport now in the run up to London 2012.?
The level of funding depended on each sport?s ability to increase participation, and their plans to create the pathways for talented individuals with podium potential.
British Cycling?s plan, prepared by Drake, ticked all the right boxes. Another factor was the recent Sport England survey revealing cycling to be the second-fastest growing sport in the UK, with more than 1.7 million adults now cycling for sport.
Furthermore, British Cycling membership has swelled to 25,000, an increase of 10,000 in three years.
?This is a fantastic result which will ensure that we can continue to get more people participating in cycling for sport and regular recreation," says Drake. "It will also enable us to continue to develop our playground-to-podium talent system through the successful Go-Ride programme.?
He said no other sport has demonstrated the same level of growth in general participation, club sport and medal success during the current funding cycle.
?We welcome Sport England?s support in the development of our plans and the approach of funding governing bodies on their record of delivery to date and potential to deliver in the run up to 2012.
?The support of our principle partner, BSKYB, in aligning their support against the outcomes required by Sport England played a key role in our submission to Sport England. We are now confident that together we can make the single biggest contribution to the lasting Olympic legacy of more people playing sport by 2012.?
British Cycling?s president Brian Cookson paid tribute BC?s team who prepared the bid. "This is a fantastic result, following many months of work in preparing the bid. It shows that whilst we are now acknowledged as world leaders in elite performance, we also have a team that is every bit as professional, working just as effectively behind the scenes, delivering the other vital functions of a governing body, to a world class standard.
I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to the bid. Now we can truly make the most of the emerging opportunities and take participation in our sport to a whole new level".
British Cycling is calling for a new network of permanent traffic-free cycle sport facilities around the country. They are also calling on the government to provide a Sporting Events on the Highways Unit, which will secure cycle sport?s future on public roads.
This move follows the cancellation of two Premier Calendar road races in 2008. To develop competition, British Cycling is to appoint 10 full-time officers to oversee regional competition development.
They also aim to increase and develop the expertise of coaches. The schools and community Go Ride programme is to have an additional 25 full-time coaches deployed, and nine part-time community coaches operating around what BC call ?traffic-free facility hubs? accessible to local schools.
Recreational cycling is also included in the mix, with the expansion of BC?s Everyday Cycling programme. Another 10 full-time coaches are to be provided.
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Keith Bingham joined the Cycling Weekly team in the summer of 1971, and retired in 2011. During his time, he covered numerous Tours de France, Milk Races and everything in-between. He was well known for his long-running 'Bikewatch' column, and played a pivotal role in fighting for the future of once at-threat cycling venues such as Hog Hill and Herne Hill Velodrome.
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