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“We believe that cycling is for everyone. Yet, in reality, not everyone feels welcome or has access today,” said EF Pro Cycling president Mary Wittenberg. “We want to help increase diversity in our sport, starting with racial diversity in cycling in the USA.”
Partnering with USA Cycling, the WorldTour team and its equipment partner are going to launch two new cycling programs — one at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and one at a Tribal College or University (TCU).
“Success will require a comprehensive approach across the industry, so we turned to USA Cycling to talk about how we could best target our energies in concert with others looking to help from grade school to masters-age athletes,” added Wittenberg.
EF Pro Cycling was inspired by the launch of St. Augustine’s cycling team earlier in 2020.
During the first year of the program, EF Pro Cycling and Cannondale will support co-ed cycling teams at these schools with equipment, funding, and mentorship opportunities.
“As the dialogue about racial equality came to a head in the U.S., we listened, we learned, and we looked for ways we could make a lasting impact and provide access to the sport of cycling to young Black and Indigenous people,” said Dennis Kim, vice president of marketing for Cycling Sports Group. “It was important to Cannondale and EF that this was a multi-year commitment to work with these schools to help grow participation.”
Both EF Pro Cycling and Cannondale plan to expand the program in the coming years, to build long-lasting, sustainable programs which “allow students to experience the benefits of cycling as well as foster inclusivity, community, and adventure,” said EF Pro Cycling in an announcement Tuesday.
“USA Cycling — as the governing body for our sport — believes we have a unique opportunity to grow participation in cycling. As part of our investment in rebuilding collegiate cycling, we are thrilled to be starting this program with EF Pro Cycling and Cannondale. Cycling has many of the challenges seen across our society today and we believe working directly with the HBCU and TCU communities we can begin to open doors with the help of partners in our industry,” said USA Cycling CEO Rob DeMartini.
EF Pro Cycling and Cannondale plan a raffle to raise funds for this program by providing chances to win one of the Palace-decorated Cannondales ridden at the 2020 Giro d’Italia last month. More details about this opportunity will be made available in the coming weeks. Proceeds from the raffle will be pooled with other contributions made to help fund this initiative. Two winners will be randomly selected to each receive one of the limited-edition team bicycles.