A TALENTED young female cyclist’s struggle to get sponsorship prompted Eureka Cycling veterans to make a move. They want to encourage more women across the region to get pedalling.
The club is offering a financial boost to help a young female rider to make a break from the pack and take her game to the next level.
Eureka Cycling vice-president Dean Wells said the club’s veteran ranks were booming but female participation was low, so the club wanted to help promote cycling retention and interest from a young age.
The club, in its 10th year, is boasting its highest membership with 80 club riders with a wide range of men aged from their 30s to 70s riding against each other – yet only one or two women ride with the group each year.
Mr Well said the club Eureka Cycling had been exploring ways to attract more women to veteran road racing because uptake in Ballarat and across the state was low for women aged 30-plus.
Then the club heard about a promising young female rider, who had strong results in the velodrome and in road races, but unable to find sponsorship or assistance from a cycling body to further her career – unlike male riders the same age. They decided to change tack.
“Cycling is an expensive sport. The equipment alone can run into many thousands of dollars,” Mr Wells said.
For juniors located in the country, there is the burden of travelling costs on top of the regular club membership fees for rider insurance and event entry fees.
“Should the rider be talented enough to attract the attention of a coach, there are more fees again.”
Eureka Cycling will support an emerging female cycling from within the City of Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Moorabool or Pyrenees shires. Mr Wells said the move was a bit different for the club, but hopefully would strengthen the sport overall.
The grant is aimed for a rider aged 15 to 18 who is achieving competitive cycling results above club level and who is already involved in a cycling development program or being coached. The rider can specialise in any Cycling Australia-recognised discipline: road, track, mountain bike, BMX, para-cycling or cyclocross.
This is separate to but comes at a time when the City of Ballarat is putting into place and active women and girls strategy in a bid to get more females moving.
Applications close on Friday. Details: evcc.org.au
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