USA Cycling announces new Olympic Development Track Program to foster growth in track cycling and develop Olympic caliber athletes
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Cycling announced today the creation of the Olympic Development Track Program, designed to foster growth in both sprint and endurance track cycling in the United States and develop future Olympic contenders. With a focus on athletes ages 15 to 21, the Olympic Development Track Program, and supporting club and racing programs, will attract and develop athletes from the grassroots level to the elite international stage. This program was made possible by funding provided by a private donor.
“As the national governing body for the sport of cycling in the United States, USA Cycling has a duty to maintain a strong development pipeline in each of our cycling disciplines,” said Scott Schnitzspahn, Vice President of Elite Athletics for USA Cycling. “Many of our velodromes and coaches across the country have done a great job supporting young individual track cyclists, but we have lacked for some time a national structure for long-term athlete development in track cycling. We are really thankful for the generous donation that allowed us to launch this exciting initiative.”
At the local level, the new funding will be used to create a more robust and structured club system to go alongside grassroots racing opportunities at velodromes throughout the United States. The new club system will be managed by regional track development coordinators and offer grants to certified development clubs. USA Cycling will be recruiting the regional coordinators over the coming months. A National Track Development Coordinator will oversee the program.
USA Cycling will soon partner with velodromes from coast to coast to create a national points series and athlete ranking system for young athletes that will culminate at the USA Cycling Junior and Elite National Championships held each year. The race series and points system will be designed and facilitated by a National Track Competition Coordinator.
To fully develop the nation’s top talent, the newly created Olympic Development Track Program will also provide coaching, training and international competition opportunities to top qualified athletes. This portion of the program will be led by two coaches focused on assisting USA Cycling with the development of athletes to compete on the international stage: Benjamin Sharp, the USA Cycling National Endurance Development Coach, and Lee Povey, the USA Cycling National Sprint Development Coach. USA Cycling will also create a track-specific coaching certification to increase the number and quality of track cycling coaches in the United States who focus on young athlete development.
The creation of the Olympic Development Track Program, supporting club and race structure, and contracted national coaches, coordinators and regional coordinators was made possible through the generous support of a private donor with a passion for track cycling. Additional resources will be needed to fully establish and expand the program, and USA Cycling is seeking further donations and sponsorships to help the program reach its full potential. Donors who are interested in supporting the Olympic Development Track Program, or other USA Cycling elite athlete development programs, are encouraged to visit the USA Cycling Foundation page HERE. Those wishing to get involved in the Olympic Development Track Program, grow the clubs or race programs can learn more at the USA Cycling Team USA – Track page HERE under ‘Development Pathway.’