Applications are now open for the Ultra Distance Scholarship, a scheme that supports cyclists from diverse backgrounds in tackling endurance cycling events.
Scholars will then compete in next July's Pan Celtic Race, a self-supported bikepacking event that stretches over 2,000km and passes through the UK, Ireland and northern France.
“The Ultra Distance Scholarship (UDS) was created in 2020 to help bring more diversity to the start-line of a very niche and predominantly white sport; ultra distance cycling,” the scholarship’s website reads.
In a press release, the UDS cited high costs, lack of support systems and undiversified media representation as the most common barriers to entry for those from minority ethnic backgrounds.
It continued: “The spirit of The Pan Celtic is one of community and supportive camaraderie, and the UDS is very pleased to be working with such strong-hearted race organisers."
The scheme is also supported by bike bag brand Tailfin, bike fitting company Foundation Fit and nutrition brand Outdoor Provisions, all of which will be supporting the riders chosen.
Since its inception two years ago, the scholarship has supported six cyclists, three of whom took part in the Racing Collective’s GBDURO earlier this year. The annual event, which traces the popular Land’s End to John O’Groats route, is 2,000km in length and takes place over four timed stages.
Applications for the scholarship are only open to UK residents who come from minority ethnic backgrounds. The UDS writes that ideal scholars should be enthusiastic, open-minded and “willing to explore the edges of their comfort zones”.
The deadline for applications is 16 October. Successful applicants will begin their nine-month coaching programme in November 2022.
Elsewhere, British Cycling is seeking applications for its new coaching scholarship, launched earlier this year. Funded by IT company Total Computers, the scholarship is open to everyone and will see 18 individuals join a two-year coaching scheme from January 2023.
“Currently, just 2% of the coaching workforce are from a minority ethnic background, 22% are female and 5% are under 30,” British Cycling writes on its website. “In 2022, 50% of scholars recruited were female and 27% from diverse ethnic groups.”
More information about the Total Computers Scholarship can be found on the British Cycling website.
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