A new cycling team to help progress burgeoning female talent from across the region was launched in Yorkshire last night.
RaceScene Female Development Academy is a unique concept in British cycling in that it caters purely for girls.
Sixteen girls aged between 13 and 17 will represent the team in youth races across the country and even in Holland over the coming months.
A host of local businesses, including Polypipe, Barrett Homes and Welcome to Yorkshire, have got involved in sponsoring the project which was devised by Richard Maxwell of Race Scene cycling shop in Barnsley.
Head coach Billy Geraghty said: “Ten years ago something like this would never have happened, but due to the boom in cycling and the county’s hosting of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, there is so much more interest.
“I coach at Clifton Cycling Club in York where we have 50 kids coming to sessions.
his team will give them the opportunity to grow through the age groups towards the professional environment.Billy Geraghty
“A girls team was only a matter of time.
“This team will give them the opportunity to grow through the age groups towards the professional environment.”
Plans are already in place for an Under-23s team next year.
One of the many local cyclists hoping to benefit from the team is Abi Smith, 16, who trains near her home in the North Yorkshire Moors and joined the GB junior academy in September.
“I was looking for a team as I’m moving up to junior level and this came along at just the right time,” said Abi.
“We’ve got a really good group of girls and hopefully we can have a good season.”