The Offroad2Rio project has been launched to develop Irish women’s cross country mountain bike racing with the goal of achieving qualification at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
“The project is an athlete-driven initiative set up by current Irish riders racing at elite international level without any assistance from Cycling Ireland the national governing body,” reads an Offroad2Rio statement.
“These riders have shown the commitment and drive to progress from national to international level over the last few years. They have done so without any of the funding or expertise that comes with a high performance programme, and without any opportunity to achieve the honour of representing their country.
“We believe that with assistance these riders have what it takes to perform alongside the best athletes in the world at the most important sporting event in the world, the Olympics.”
The initiative, which names Cait Elliott and Mel Spath as its current athletes, seeks to provide a high performance strategy for chosen riders.
Athletes are divided into two categories: high performance (riders with international experience) and development (riders competing in the Irish National Series who wish to progress to elite level in 2012).
Offroad2Rio hopes to inspire more women to become part of the development pool and then to progress from development to high performance level.
When qualification for Rio begins in May 2014, the scheme aspires to have at least three women in the high performance pool to collect qualification points.
Offroad2Rio are looking for mountain bikers that are interested in joining the scheme. Visit www.offroad2rio.com for more information.