SINGAPORE — The Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) has set its sights on Tour de France, with the launch of the ProCyclingSG initiative to professionalise the sport in Singapore.
Announced on Friday (13 March), the initiative will groom a group of committed cyclists, handpicked from the national team, and put through a training programme enhanced with professional guidance from renowned professional road race cycling team, GreenEDGE Cycling.
With SCF signing a five-year agreement with GreenEDGE Cycling to share best practices from the team’s riders and coaches and provide a world-class training programme for ProCyclingSG athletes, the ultimate vision is to have a Singaporean representative riding at the Tour de France, cycling’s premier competition.
A Singaporean cyclist could potentially be shortlisted to join the Mitchelton-SCOTT men’s team as a stagiaire – an amateur cyclist temporarily riding for a professional team – to train and race in Europe in 2021. The position is only open to three cyclists in the world.
“Following Singapore’s first medal in men’s road race at the 2019 SEA Games, we believe that introducing a high-performance professional programme is the leap we need to take in our pursuit of a gold medal at the Asian Games,” said Adrian Ng, ProCyclingSG’s general manager.
“We will gain insights from Mitchelton-SCOTT men’s and women’s teams of GreenEDGE Cycling to raise our standards on various levels, from coaching, to racing strategies and technical consultancy.”
Gaining commitment from athletes
With a proper training structure that is fine-tuned with professional guidance, as well as racing opportunities for continual development, ProCyclingSG will gain the commitment of its athletes who will be able to train in consistency, a key factor that is missing in Singapore cycling till now.
By 2023, ProCyclingSG aims to retain a core group of 11 riders, consisting of two full-time professionals, two professional guest riders, four semi-professionals and three development riders.
The professional riders will train at an intensity of 25 to 30 hours a week and be engaged in least 12 races and four training camps per year.
Full-time cyclists will receive a monthly allowance and expenses incurred on overseas training camps and competitions will be borne by ProCyclingSG.
Satellite centres to enhance training
It is also in the pipeline that by 2023, ProCyclingSG will officially register a UCI men’s continental team.
“We want to nurture an eco-system where full-time riders are fully supported in the community and young riders see prospects in pursuing cycling as a career,” said SCF president, Dr Hing Siong Chen.
“This is our game plan to embark on an endeavour to consistently secure podium finishes at major games and be competitive with those in the region, and even internationally.”
ProCyclingSG will set up satellite centres which include easy access to a velodrome, BMX tracks and cross country trails to enhance athletes’ training. There will also be intensive outreach programmes with schools and corporate sponsors, and a diversification of its recruitment sources to include schools, clubs and communities.
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