Several major European cycling teams have been exploring plans to create a new competitive league in a move that could reshape the sport’s landscape and allocate more funding for participants, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. External investors could help finance the project, which would amalgamate new and existing races, one of the people said. The move is partly a response to the teams’ frustration that the lion’s share of profits from the world’s top events, such as the Tour de France and the Vuelta an Espana, go to their organizers rather than to them, the sources added.
The US National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) aims to get more kids on bikes and keep them there. That’s why the nonprofit works with bike companies to create discounted programs for kids who participate in NICA races. It also offers scholarships for families who can’t afford to pay their children’s race entry fees or buy them a bike and helmet. It holds outreach events in rural towns, where kids can try out mountain bikes and meet coaches.
In Salmon, Idaho, for example, the NICA program is a lifeline for kids who live in a town that has struggled with disappearing extractive industries and where 90 percent of public lands are available to explore on foot or by bike. Ryan McAllister, the director of the NICA Idaho region, says 30-40 percent of students in his program come from nontraditional sources — places that have little or no bicycle culture. He’s developed a team that competes on public trails and brings a trailer’s worth of bikes to community outreach events so kids can try out the sport.
Meanwhile, the NICA program is also the home of the only integrated junior mentorship program that develops young women into elite cyclists. Its athletes have won 14 Olympic and Paralympic medals to date. The program has also created opportunities for athletes who excel in the virtual world of Zwift eSports and the emerging discipline of gravel racing, which combines high performance with mass participation and community connection.
The roster for Gianni Savio’s new GW Shimano-Sidermec Continental team has been defined, with the Italian retaining Gabriele Benedetti and Alessandro Bisolti and Colombian riders Jhonatan Restrepo, Santiago Umba and Brandon Rojas. The team is scheduled to debut in January in Venezuela at the Vuelta al Tachira 2023.
Belgian Luca Vergallito, who won the inaugural Zwift Academy in 2022, has signed a contract with the world-tour Alpecin-Deceuninck Development team for 2023. The 25-year-old is the latest winner of the two-year scholarship program to sign a professional deal, following in the footsteps of last year’s Jay Vine and this year’s Alex Bologna.