Cycling NSW has inked a three-year partnership with Watersley Race & Development Cycling Team to provide overseas development opportunities for female cyclists.
The agreement will allow three riders per year to stay, train and race with the Dutch women’s team from their residential campus at Watersley Sports & Talentpark, located in the southernmost region of the Netherlands.
Earlier this year, Cycling NSW unveiled the Rauland U19 Road Series, through which selected under-19 cyclists will receive the opportunity to race in Europe on placement with a local team.
Cycling NSW can now confirm that the successful women will be placed with Watersley R&D. As previously announced, the men will compete with TWC Maaslandster Zuid-Limburg.
The female riders will live at the dedicated athlete’s campus in Sittard, where they can access facilities such as a gym, sauna, meals services and bike maintenance. They will have the benefit of training sessions, training camps and team staff as they race an international program with the Watersley R&D team.
Currently, the Watersley R&D team comprises riders from the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Sweden and Great Britain.
Graham Seers, CEO of Cycling NSW, said, “We’re extremely pleased to finalise this agreement with Watersley R&D and confirm the women’s pathway for the Rauland U19 series. New South Wales has a history of producing talented female cyclists, and it’s important to provide development opportunities to nurture our young women as they progress past the junior ranks.”
“Like the men, being based in the south of the Netherlands will give our women access to a variety of terrain and plenty of race opportunities in the Netherlands and nearby Belgium,” Seers said.
Huub Duijn, team manager of Watersley R&D, said, “Watersley Sports & Talentpark is the home base for young talents from different sports from all around the world. Teams and federations like Jumbo-Visma, USA Cycling and the Dutch Triathlon Federation call Watersley their home. With the famous hills of the Amstel Gold Race and the Ardennes as a backyard, it’s a perfect training location.
“From the campus, we’re also building our own development program for young talented cyclists, having an Under-19 and Under-23 women’s team on the road already. Having a good and suitable race program is one of our main priorities.
“Next to that, we focus more on the general development of the rider and person, instead of solely racing to gain results. Therefore, we believe the cooperation with New South Wales is a win-win.
“Now we are combining forces, we’re really looking forward to giving female Australian cyclists opportunities to gain experience and race skills in the ‘heart of cycling’ at a young age. But maybe even more important, gaining life experience, living together with teammates from all over the world,” Duijn said.
Cycling NSW will provide $1,500 in financial assistance towards each rider’s trip.
The next round of the Rauland U19 Road Series will be the NSW U19 Country & Metropolitan Road Championships in Penrith on 24 July.