Cannondale and EF Pro Cycling announced an initiative with USA Cycling to start two new co-ed collegiate cycling programs in 2021, one at a historically black college and university (HBCU), and another at a tribal college and university (TCU).
“We believe that cycling is for everyone,” said Mary Wittenberg, EF Pro Cycling president, in a press release. “Yet, in reality, not everyone feels welcome or has access today. We want to help increase diversity in our sport, starting with racial diversity in cycling in the USA.”
“As the dialogue about racial equality came to a head in the US, 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, the parent company of Cannondale, in a press release.
Cannondale and EF Pro Cycling were inspired by St. Augustine’s University in North Carolina starting the first HBCU cycling team in April of this year, and wanted to help more schools start similar programs. The two new programs supported by Cannondale and EF will start in 2021, with an initial commitment of three years. In the first year, they will support the new school programs through equipment, funding and mentorship. In the following years, they have aspirations to broaden the program. “It was important to Cannondale and EF that this was a multi-year commitment to work with these schools to help grow participation,” said Kim.
USA Cycling sees this program as a way to increase racial diversity in cycling at the collegiate level and build broader involvement in the sport. “USA Cycling, as the governing body for our sport, believes we have a unique opportunity to grow participation in cycling,” said Rob DeMartini, chief executive officer of USA Cycling, in a press release. 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.”
To help further fund the program beyond their individual contributions, EF Pro Cycling, Cannondale and USA Cycling will be raffling off two of the limited edition Rapha X Palace X Cannondale bikes ridden by EF Pro Cycling in the 2020 Giro d’Italia last month. The raffle will last for several weeks, with winners announced in December.
HBCUs and TCUs interested in applying should contact [email protected]