British Cycling chief Brian Facer to prioritise increasing number of black riders as part of three-year strategy
British Cycling chief Brian Facer has prioritised increasing the number of black riders in their Olympic and Paralympic teams as part of the governing body’s new three-year strategy.
BMX racer Kye Whyte and Paralympic track rider Kadeena Cox were the only non-white athletes to compete for Great Britain in cycling at Tokyo 2020. On British Cycling’s talent development programme, 95 per cent of riders are white.
The organisation has therefore set a target of increasing the number of talent pathway riders from ‘ethnic communities, disability and low socioeconomic backgrounds’ by 10 per cent by 2024.
British Cycling chief Brian Facer has prioritised increasing the number of black riders
‘It is fundamental,’ said Facer, who took over as British Cycling chief executive in January. ‘It flows through every element of the priorities of the strategy.
‘We’re really keen to start measuring how we succeed in this. It’s a real step change for us and we know we’ve got a lot of work to do.’
Great Britain won 12 medals in cycling at the Olympics and 24 at the Paralympics. Despite that success, British Cycling are yet to secure a new title sponsor to replace HSBC when that deal expires at the end of this year.
‘We’re actively seeking,’ said Facer. ‘We’ve had interest. We’ve had some good strong conversations. We need to make sure we find the right partners and the right fit.’
Facer insists the Richard Freeman scandal has not been a barrier to sponsorship, despite admitting it has ‘come up’ in conversation with potential partners.
BMX racer Kye Whyte was one of only two non-white athletes to compete for Team GB in Tokyo
At a medical tribunal earlier this year, the former British Cycling chief medic was found guilty of ordering banned testosterone in 2011 ‘knowing or believing’ it was to help dope an unnamed rider.
Facer, who has been forced to deal with the Freeman aftermath following his move from London Irish, said: ‘We have to learn the lessons of the past and make sure we continue to get better and better and continue to change our governance as it’s required.
‘But the past doesn’t equal the future. I have come into an organisation which I think sets the standards, not just for this country, but globally, in terms of the governance measures we have in place. You can see a whole new bunch of riders coming through who really understand the boundaries of where we go.’
Facer also believes British Cycling have moved on from bullying and sexism scandal which dogged them before and after Rio 2016. The strategy launched on Monday states a focus on ‘ensuring the Great Britain cycling team wins in the right way – prioritising rider welfare and integrity’.
‘We’re in a different world to the previous one,’ added Facer. ‘If you look at our governance and everything else over the last four or five years, we’re in a significantly different place.
‘Some of that is reflected when you see the smiles on the faces of the riders at Tokyo. It’s about winning with a smile on your face.’