Team Jumbo-Visma Academy contributes to development of cycling: "We see positive changes emerging"
Along with competing in elite sports, Team Jumbo-Visma works with the Academy to improve cycling. They hope to get more and more young people on bikes by organising several initiatives. Jaap van Hulten, Head of Academy, tells us about Team Jumbo-Visma Academy's past, present and future.
In 2019, Team Jumbo-Visma launched this initiative after feeling the urge to give back to society. "We hope to pass on our riders' enthusiasm for the bike to the next generation. We strongly desire to bring more people into cycling, hoping more young people and children will find their way into the sport."
Multiple events geared at various target groups help to develop the objective of increasing the number of young people riding bikes. "These are activities for different ages. On the one hand, for small children, the Dikke Banden Races, but also for young people from the age of 11. We call that Ready2Race Junior, purely to get acquainted with the road bike. We also organise low-threshold races for adults from 16 years old."
The Dutch cycling team's Academy tries to add value through a variety of projects and through supporting clubs. "We are working to strengthen cycling clubs. The Team Jumbo-Visma Academy does that in cooperation with the KNWU, among others. In terms of sports and organisation, efforts are being made to create impact", Van Hulten says.
"I am happy with the positive reactions, which also leads to participation in one or more events, strengthening our journey"
Team Jumbo-Visma Academy used the corona period to further tinker with concepts and work on the future. "We were finally allowed to hit the road again in 2022. It led to a considerable number of events and some 12,000 participants. That is a very encouraging number. The fact that this is taking place now, combined with the positive response we are receiving, strengthens us in the strategy to follow."
Since the focus is on the future, the Academy wants to make a bigger effect on its target audience every year. "We are setting up the Ready2Race Foundation and will offer four concepts, including school clinics, from the same foundation in the spring. The unique aspect of our clinics is that they are Dikke Banden Races and Ready2Race Junior races, but they are held during school hours and in collaboration with cycling clubs", Van Hulten explains.
So far, he is satisfied with the Academy's impact on society. "I am happy with the positive reactions, which also leads to participation in one or more events, strengthening our journey. It appears that our activities also bring in new members for clubs, which is a good thing. We see positive changes emerging, such as improvements in cooperation with the KNWU and several cycling clubs. That makes us all happy."