British Cycling will launch an initiative next year to help domestic teams and riders bridge the gap to UCI Continental level.
The idea is to help support the best British riders "towards success on the world stage", by creating a new tier called Elite Development Team status.
The new status will ensure riders are supported by a team of support staff, give them comprehensive race programmes, as well as appropriate guidance and mentoring.
In order to qualify for this level, teams will need to support riders' expenses for both national and international races, provide both equipment and support, and attend national road and circuit series events. Men's and women's teams will be encouraged to apply for Elite Development Team status.
British Cycling's Elite Road Racing Manager, Erick Rowsell, hopes this initiative will help bridge the gap for young riders to make their way up the pyramid all the way to the WorldTour.
"We know that competing at a national level for young riders sitting outside of the current UCI Continental Teams can be difficult and expensive, which can prevent riders from achieving their best results on the bike," Roswell said. "Through the introduction of Elite Development Team status we want to create an aspirational new step in the pathway and bridge the gap to ensure that riders are provided with the support they need as they find their feet in elite racing, and that there is a clear, progressive pathway for young riders all the way to the World Tour.
"This is the result of discussions which have taken place with teams and riders over several months, and we believe it will offer teams added recognition and status as they look to engage with new riders and sponsors.
"This is an important time for our sport and we feel that this will provide a much-needed step at a critical point in the pathway, and it is something that we are looking to build on in the future. We’re really excited to welcome the first successful teams to the start line next year, and hopefully look forward to watching their riders go on to long and successful careers in the years ahead."
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