One of road.cc’s bike testers, Liam Glen, has been named this week among 26 young riders who will be able to ride abroad in 2014 thanks to the Dave Rayner Fund, which has been helping aspiring cyclists take a big step towards building a career in professional cycling for almost two decades now.
Other riders who will be funded in the coming year include the dominant female rider on the British domestic scene this year, Hannah Barnes, Owain Doull, a Track World Cup winner with the GB team pursuit squad who will be focusing on the road, and Hackney rider Tao Geoghegan Hart.
He heads to the American development team Bissell, as Bontrager will be known next year – under its previous guise of Livestrong-Trek, it produced two Giro d’Italia time trial stage winners in the shape of Alex Dowsett and Taylor Phinney.
As for Liam, who as a student rode for Bath Uni-road.cc and has been testing bikes for us ever since, he’s off to Belgium, where he will be riding for the Terra Footwear-Bicycle Line Team, as will several other recipients of funding.
He told us: “I spent the 2013 season riding for the Wheelbase/Altura/MGD team and raced a pretty good programme of national level races, including a couple of good results in the Premiers.
“However, the UK scene is pretty limited in terms of races if you're not into crits, so I felt I needed to make the jump to the continent in order to progress as a rider.
I was initially looking to race in France as I felt that the racing there would suit me well. However, without any contacts, I struggled to get in touch with teams.
“I sent out my CV (in French) to most of the DN1 and DN2 teams but only got a few replies, none of which were positive. By luck, I'd heard that the Belgian Terra Footwear team was looking for UK riders so I got in contact and before I knew it I'd found myself a ride!
“I'm excited and also a little relieved to have secured Dave Rayner funding as I wouldn't be able to race in Belgium without it. I've spent the last 4 years of my life at university so finances are a little tight!
“The list of riders who've had funding in the past is really impressive and shows just what an opportunity it is.”
Rayner himself rode for Dutch team Buckler, and the fund was established after his death at the age of just 27 in an incident outside a nightclub to enable others to ride for teams on the Continent and further afield. Next year marks the 20th anniversary of his death.
Among the first recipients of funding in 1996 were David Millar, who went on to become the first British rider to wear the leader’s jersey in all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, and a man who is now his directeur sportif at Garmin-Sharp, Charly Wegelius.
Yesterday, the latter tweeted that the Dave Rayner Fund “kept me fed + watered when I was starting out. That kind of support makes the difference. Give this generation a hand too.”
Others to have benefited from the help of the Dave Rayner Fund over the years include Tour de France stage winner – and, with his Liège-Bastogne-Liège win in April, only the second England-born rider to win a Monument – Dan Martin, who now rides for Ireland.
One rider who received funding this year was Adam Yates – runner-up in the Tour de l’Avenir, and now looking forward to a debut season as a pro with Orica-GreenEdge, where he will be joined by twin brother Simon. The latter, third overall in the Tour of Britain and reigning world champion in the points race, came up through the British Cycling Academy.
London 2012 Olympic team pursuit medal winner Dani King and national cyclo-cross champion Nikki Harris – currently ranked fifth in the world in the discipline – are among the women who have received funding in the past.
Barnes is the only female rider on the list for next year, but the Dave Rayner Fund secretary, Martyn Bolt, told us that it would be keen to see more women apply for funding, although to a certain extent it’s a numbers game – there are simply more opportunities for male riders.
While the Dave Rayner Fund raises money through its annual dinner as well as the Etape du Dales that it organises – next year’s edition taking in many of the roads that will be used in the Tour de France, with Bolt himself having drawn up the preliminary route for the Grand Départ stages in Yorkshire, it is also dependant on legacies and donations to help up-and-coming riders achieve their dreams.
Bolt also happens to be Mayor of Kirklees, and he also told us that anyone who wanted to make a donation for a specific purpose, for instance to support female riders, could do so via the area’s One Community Fund, his mayoral charity of the year, which would be able to rinfence and manage any gift on their behalf.
Here is the full list of the 26 riders who will be supported by the Dave Rayner Fund during 2014, including details of where they will be riding.
Sam Allen previously funded in 2012 and 2013 riding for Hennebont Cyclisme goes back to France where he joins Division 1 Team UC Nantes Atlantique, a big promotion for him.
Hannah Barnes was previously funded in 2012 when she spent the season in Holland. Last year she opted to stay in the UK where she dominated the criterium scene. A big move to the US Team UnitedHealthcare ensued.
Peter Barusevicus is studying at University and is taking the 3 month option of going to Belgium during the summer months.
Declan Byrne goes to the Baguet Bicycle Center - MIBA Poorten Team in Belgium.
Calvert Churchill is a first time rider who is taking advantage of 3 months trial funding. He rides for KW Heist Zuiderkempen in Belgium who tested him this season.
Doug Dewey had a great season in France last year riding for Hennebont Cyclisme and has now progressed to Division 1 Team UC Nantes Atlantique.
Owain Doull comes to the Fund after a successful couple of years with the British Cycling Academy. He is now turning to the road after the Track Worlds in Feb/March and will ride with An Post Team in Belgium.
Conor Dunne is another rider who is going to the An Post Team, a big step up for him after a couple of years already in Belgium and a big win in Stage One of the An Post Ras this year.
Tom Fitzpatrick is going to the Terra Footwear-Bicycle Line Team in Belgium after spending some development time over there this season.
Joe Fox is also taking advantage of the opportunity to spend 3 months abroad next year with the aim of developing his cycling career.
Tao Geoghegan Hart has had a superb season as Junior this year, he has chosen to go the USA to ride for the Bissell Team run by Axel Merckx who has a great reputation of developing professional cyclists.
Liam Glen is another rider who is riding for the Terra Footwear - Bicycle Line Team in Belgium next year.
Jake Kelly is a first year U23 going to race for the Illi Bikes Cycling Team in Belgium
Joseph Kirkham, another first year U23 is going to Normandy in France where he has a place in the Team Hague Cotentin.
Andy Leigh is another first year U23 who is going to the Terra Footwear - Bicycle Line Team.
Adam Lewis is also First year U23 and goes to Terra Footwear - Bicycle Line Team
Sam Lowe has spent the last season with the British Cycling Academy. He now wants to concentrate on the road and has chosen to go to the AC Bisontine in France
Tom Mazzone was funded in 2013 and stays in the Terra Footwear - Bicycle Line Team for 2014.
Eoin McCarthy is also going to Terra Footwear - Bicycle Line Team in Belgium.
Dan McLay is staying in the Lotto-Belisol U23 Development Team in Belgium for 2014.
Chris Sherriffs is being funded for the first time in 2014, but is going back to Belgium and the Asfra Racing Team where he spent time this season.
Alistair Slater is another rider who has gained a lot of experience with the British Cycling Academy but has realised that he wants to strike out on his own. French Division 1 Team Guiddon Chalettois is where he is heading.
Brennan Townshend has ridden in the UK this year for Madison Genesis. He has realised that the chance of making it on the continent should be seized and he heads to French Team Hague Contentin in Brittany.
Dan Whelan has spent a lot of time in Belgium this season which has led him to the Asfra Racing Team for 2014.
Jack Wilson has spent 2013 in the An Post Team in Belgium. He has had some great results which means he spends 2014 there as well.
Matthew Woods has been making steady progress in Italy for the last two seasons. In 2014 he returns again to Monteurano Civitanova Team where he hopes to turn that experience into solid results.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.