What is the U23 Programme?
The Project 51 U23 Development Programme is a young rider development programme with the sole aim of helping young riders achieve their dream of forging a career as a full-time elite bike racer.
There are many aspects to achieving this dream. Firstly, and basically, you need to be good enough! Sounds simple? Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s not just about having the physical numbers.
It is more about knowing what to do with those numbers in a race to get results, having the mindset and determination, surviving the lifestyle, having the patience to allow yourself to develop at the right rate, networking, being in the right place at the right time, ensuring you make yourself marketable as a bike racer.
It’s tough. If you don’t have the right support and guidance through this journey, you’ll make it even tougher for yourself.
This is where the Project 51 team can help. We have been helping riders through their development stage for many years.
The programme is run by Alan Denman and Olly Moors and also has the added value of the Project 51 family to help you along the way, with mentors such as Adam Cotterell, Dani Christmas and Dan Gardner to help.
The programme is split between being based the UK and Belgium.
We split it between the UK and Belgium, because Belgium is the mecca for cycling. In Belgium, it is in their blood.
What makes it so?
It isn’t the pretty roads and countryside that makes it. It isn’t the long climbs and sexy curves of the descents that makes it. In Belgium, it is still a working-class sport, and if you work hard, you’ll achieve. It’s bike racing at its absolute basic. It’s hard, fast and brutal from the gun and you must be tough to survive it.
From youth category right through to masters, it’s the same. Big fields, narrow roads, lots of fighting for space.
Whatever type of rider you are, learning your race craft in Belgium is crucial. Even in the hilliest climbers’ races, the race to the bottom of the climb is just as crucial. As the experts say, if you can race in Belgium, you can race anywhere.
Check out this great video
How can Project 51 help me join the next level of team?
Following this pathway for a non-Belgian rider is both a delicate and straight forward one. You must prove your worth at every level before you move onto the next one.
Project 51 have been part of the racing scene for a long time and have a good relationship with many amateur teams. Due to producing good riders over the last 15 years who have proved valuable assets to teams, we are trusted to provide riders that teams can rely on.
Over the years we have placed riders with many good level amateur teams, with many of the riders progressing on to Pro teams.
Want be part of the Programme?
You will already need to be at a certain physical level, and you’ll need to prove you’ve got the right mindset to stand a chance of surviving it. You’ll also have to commit to a minimum of 12 months with us.
But choosing this route for your racing career is tough, so we need to ensure it’s the right route for you.
Our U23 programme is aimed at male & female U23 riders, so you’ll need to be in that age group. Although occasionally slighter older riders are excepted.
So, before we begin, we’ll arrange an initial chat, in person, then if we proceed, conduct some testing, look at your existing numbers and have an interview with you to gauge your outlook on bike racing.
Project 51 U23 Development Programme includes:
· A full one to one training program
· An experienced rider, based in Belgium as your mentor
· Accommodation in the Project 51 house in East Flanders
· Regular workshops covering all aspects of racing and living abroad as a bike racer
· Race calendar support
· Race day support
· Full Race Team Kit
How much will it cost?
Project Belgium holds a minimum term of 12 months, running from 1st November through to 31st October the following year.
The monthly cost of the plan is £300 per month, which also includes your accommodation whilst in Belgium.
Want to be involved?
Please send us a message below, telling a bit about yourself.
After this point, we will provide you with a telephone or face to face chat to answer any initial questions and then arrange to book you in for a proper chat.