A new chapter in women’s cycling will begin in 2017 with Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness (SUSF) and the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) joining forces to advance elite opportunities for athletes.
The partnership will see the creation of the NSWIS Sydney Uni Women’s Road Cycling Team, which will compete in the 2017 National Road Series and other select events both nationally and abroad.
Established in order to create a sustainable race team that will advance female athlete development, and provide academic support to riders, NSWIS cycling coach Ben Kersten is confident that the team will lay strong groundwork for future success.
“Over the past year we have been in discussions with Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness about creating more opportunities for education and professional pathways for women,” Kersten said.
“Then we tried to come up with something that mirrored the American collegiate system. At the heart of our discussions was the need to help female athletes balance education and cycling.
“We (NSWIS and SUSF) quickly found ourselves on the same page as organisations and wanted to unite high performance and education for athletes. The long-term plan to bring athletics and academics in line with each other is good. Next year will be all about laying the foundations for a long-term partnership.”
While the team first raced together at the Australian Road National Championships in early January, the official launch of the team has arrived just ahead of the Santos Tour Down Under.
Now with just hours until the new team breaks cover, Sydney Uni Velo (SUVelo) Club founding President and now SUSF Vice President David Jordan declared the partnership with NSWIS as an important stepping stone for women’s sport.
“Sydney Uni Velo Club was formed in 2010 with the intent of creating a new “development” Club in the Sydney cycling scene. We wanted to particularly create a Club environment where male and female cyclists could grow in this sport,” Jordan said.
“We dreamt of having national prominence in cycling one day, and the formation of this partnership with NSWIS in the National Road Series is an obvious marker that we are on course in achieving that dream.
“That we have made that step with a women’s team is particularly significant as women’s sport has been very much the emphasis of Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness’s direction for some years now.”
Also pleased to see the merger come to fruition was SUSF Executive Director Rob Smithies.
“This merger brings together an array of talented riders and I look forward with excitement to seeing their combined growth,” Smithies said.
The NSWIS Sydney Uni Women’s Road Cycling Team first raced at the Australian Road National Championships between January 4-8 in Ballarat, before officially launching today January 12, 2017, ahead of the Santos Tour Down Under. See NSWIS Sydney Uni start list here.
Additional quotes from Sydney Uni Velo Club President and SUSF President below
Andrew Duggan – President of the Velo Club said:
“This partnership has been the result not only of a lot of hard work by senior members of the Club, but also the work of many Club members over a number of years.”
“The SUSF partnership with NSWIS involves significant financial contribution by the Club too, and we are all looking forward to seeing our women achieve national recognition.”
“The Club already has women competing on the world stage – Sarah Roy and Rachel Neylan, both Club members, ride for Orica-AIS (to be re-named Orica-Scott in 2017) on the UCI Women’s World Tour. So in a sense, this is only the beginning.”
“At the Club we remain committed to continuing the development of the Club and individuals in it as part of our ‘Racing @ SUVelo’ program. We want to be a stepping-stone, and what better way to achieve that than by being partnered with NSWIS in the National Road Series.”
“SUVelo has won back-to-back NSW Club Road premierships. Racing is at the heart of the club and the Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness lion on our cycling kit has become a familiar sight at races throughout Sydney, NSW and Australia over the past six years. We are all looking forward to seeing it further on the national stage and, hopefully, on podiums across the country.”
Bruce Ross – President of Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness
“Sydney Uni Velo Club has grown tremendously since its formation in 2010. We knew then that cycling was ‘the new golf,’ but we could not have imagined the growth that this new Club would have in just 6 years.”
It is now one of the bigger sporting Clubs on campus, and we are terrifically excited by the prospect of Sydney Uni’s name being out there on the national stage in yet another sport. We are especially proud of the fact that it is happening in women’s sport, as it vindicates the culture which exists across the entire sports organisation at Sydney Uni.”
For further enquiries please contact SUSF Marketing & Communications Manager Laura Hanlon at [email protected] or NSWIS Media & Communications Coordinator Ralph Turner on 0297630231 / [email protected]