The Alba Development Road Team is aiming to help female talent realise their dreams of competing against the world’s top riders in the biggest races. Thanks to financial backing from several international organisations all athletes are being provided with a bike, individual development plan, riding kit and full race programme to help achieve optimum performance.
Thanks to sponsors, Alba Development Road Team riders will be able to take on the UK and Europe’s top talent without having to fund themselves, something the team feels is crucial to being successful. Backers include companies from across Scotland and UK, and while many boast an international footprint, all have the same elite performance, growth and inclusive mindset.
The team is backed by the following organisations: Trek, Bontrager, John Clark Motor Group, Impsport, Veloforte, Pedal Power, Aramco Ventures, Fifth Ring, Ardoyne Performance Coaching, Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), Paradigm Drilling and Rotech Subsea.
Alba Development Road Team Performance Director and Team Manager Bob Lyons said:
“The creation of this team is about more than just wearing the same colours and achieving race results. It’s about giving female riders who have demonstrated clear potential to progress in the sport, regardless of current experience or age, the tools and platform to succeed and helping them as much as possible.
“Natural talent, commitment and focus is what should set people apart, not whether they can afford to race or not. That is why it’s important to us that all they have to concentrate on is their performance.
“The opportunity to grab the attention of young female cyclists just now should not be underestimated. If we can show them there is a pathway to success at a national and international level, and use the talented team we have as the catalyst for that, then this approach will benefit individuals and the sport.”
David Somerville, Head of Performance and Coaching at Scottish Cycling, said:
“We are delighted to the see the establishment of a women’s development road team based in Scotland. We are confident the intention behind Alba Development Road Team and the expertise of their staff will lead to valuable development opportunities for female Scottish bike riders.
“We are looking forward to working in partnership with Bob and the rest of the team to maximise rider development and capture learnings from for the team’s debut season.”
The team will compete in the Scottish National Track Championships at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in January, as well as the 2022 HSBC UK National Track Championships later in the month.
The riders will then take part in the UK National road series (road and circuit), the Tour Series, and select European stage races. It is envisaged the race programme will present riders with opportunities to ultimately progress to UCI Continental or World Tour Teams.
The confirmed team includes six Scots – Sophie Lankford, Vicky Smith, Beth Maciver, Kate Richardson, Arianne Holland and Erin Murphy – who will be joined by English rider Sophie Enever and Northern Ireland’s Emma Smith.
“The debut line-up for Alba Development Road Team is full of some fantastic talent, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone in action when the season gets under way. This is an exciting time for Scottish cycling, and one we are delighted to be a part of.”
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Alba Development Road Team Members
Name: Vicky Smith
Experience: Ex-track athlete, started riding five years ago. An established and respected time trialist and track pursuiter, looking to undertake more road racing in 2022.
Name: Sophie Lankford
Job: Full-time rider
Experience: Experienced road, track and circuit rider, currently on the SC performance programme.
Name: Kate Richardson
Job: Student studying Physiology, Sports Science and Nutrition
Experience: Switched to cycling full-time in July 2021 after five years on the British Triathlon Performance Pathway.
Name: Emma Smith
Location: Between Ireland and Scotland
Experience: Started racing four years ago after beginning cycling in a club. Had very good results at a regional level, looking to gain more experience at a national level with a focus on longer road races.
Name: Arianne Holland
Job: Veterinary student
Experience: An accomplished runner, switched to cycling from running in 2020 during lockdown and progressed very quickly. First season of racing in 2021.
Name: Erin Murphy
Job: Student studying sports coaching
Experience: Raced as a youth from age 13. Really had a breakthrough year as a second year junior, culminating in winning the Scottish Junior Road Race championship in 2021.
Name: Sophie Enever
Job: Full-time rider
Experience: Accomplished rider with seven years’ experience. Spent the last year based in Belgium riding for a UCI continental team.
Name: Beth Maciver
Job: Student studying Physiotherapy
Experience: Ex-track athlete, started cycling during lockdown and demonstrated her natural ability. Raced for Movistar esports team in 2021 in parallel with a first season of road racing.