WCC Coach Development Programme: applications open for 2014
The World Cycling Centre has restructured its Coach Development Programme (CDP), dividing the former eight-week course into two shorter modules: four weeks to obtain the Level 1 and Level 2 coaching certificates and a separate four-week course for the more advanced UCI Coaching Diploma.
“The shorter courses will be more accessible,” explains WCC Education and Training Coordinator Belinda Tarling. “After the success of our four-week Level 1 and 2 course for women last year, we have decided to apply the same formula for all our courses in 2014. It will give participants a better learning experience and provide an improved development pathway.”
Four of the women who completed the first exclusively women’s coaching course last year are planning to return to the WCC in May for the Diploma Course. Meanwhile, a graduate of the 2013 Diploma course will arrive at the centre in March as part of the WCC‘s three-month internship programme.
Belinda Tarling: “raising the standard of coaching worldwide”
“These are fantastic examples of how coaches can progress through the different levels and benefit from the expertise provided at the World Cycling Centre,” adds Belinda Tarling. “With more and more coaches obtaining our qualifications we are raising the standard of coaching, and consequently cycling, worldwide.”
The 2014 CDP gets under way with a Diploma Course for road and mountain bike from May 6th to June 1st. Some places are still available for this course, which is open to holders of the Level 1 and 2 certificates or an equivalent qualification. A second Diploma Course, for the track and BMX disciplines, will be held in September.
Another exclusively women’s course (Level 1 and 2) will be held in August, followed by a Level 1 and 2 course open to men and women in November. All courses will be delivered in English, with a Spanish option also available for those aiming for the track and BMX Diploma in September.
Theory and practical experience
Participants benefit from a mixture of theory sessions in the classroom and practical experience alongside the professional coaching staff at the World Cycling Centre.
In addition three-month coaching internships are organised for road, BMX and track. The first internships for each of these disciplines have been filled, and applications are open for second internships for each discipline later in the year. More information about internships is available on the UCI website.
Chinese mechanics training at World Cycling Centre workshop
Yuanhui Dong has just completed his first week as a trainee mechanic at the WCC, where he is getting some tips from fellow Chinese Erju Zhang, one of the first mechanics to complete the UCI Mechanics Training Course last year.
Since completing the course in June 2013 Zhang has come closer to his dream of working for a UCI ProTeam. In October he joined the mechanical team for Orica GreenEdge during the Tour of Beijing stage race. He has also done some work for US-based Continental squad Five-hour Energy presented by Kenda and for UCI Professional Continental team Champion System Pro Cycling Team. While trying to obtain a permanent contract with a professional team, Zhang is back at the World Cycling Centre to perfect his skills.
“I have learned a lot at the World Cycling Centre. I really like working here and now it is my dream to work for a professional team,” says the accomplished mechanic who particularly appreciates the excitement of working from the following car at races.
Yuanhui Dong, 34, would like to follow the same path as his compatriot. Most of his experience so far has been gained working with cycling clubs. Like Zhang, he has also done some work with Shimano back in China, but he has never worked with a professional team or at a race: “But one day I would like to do it. I want to work at a high level. It is my dream and my life.”
For the moment, he is stationed in the workshop, learning the trade on the WCC trainees’ bicycles. He has already accompanied the track group to some competitions to observe the mechanics in action.
Next month, the WCC road trainees will be arriving in Aigle, and Dong and Zhang will travel with them to their races.
“They are both enthusiastic and ambitious,” remarks WCC Master Mechanic Alex Roussel. He confirms that his first pupil, Erju Zhang, is already an excellent mechanic who is gaining the necessary experience out in the field.
Dong’s turn to follow suit….
• Launched in 2013, the eight-week UCI Mechanic Training Course gives mechanics a chance to improve their skills by working at the heart of the World Cycling Centre’s mechanical team both at the centre’s workshop in Aigle and at races with the WCC trainees.
• Applications are open for the next courses from May 5 to June 27 and September 1 to October 25.
Photo: Yuanhui Dong (left) and Erju Zhang at the World Cycling Centre workshop
Former WCC trainee makes history among the pros in Gabon
Former World Cycling Centre trainee Natnael Berhane continues to blaze a trail for African cycling with his win in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, au Gabon, at the weekend.
The Eritrean’s historic victory makes him the first black African to win a professional stage race. The rider with Team Europcar kept the peloton on its toes throughout the event, gradually moving in on the leader, one of cycling’s big names Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural – Seguros SGA). Thanks to bonifications in the last two stages, Berhane finally stole the show, taking overall victory by a mere second.
WCC trainee for two seasons
A trainee at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, in 2011 and 2012, the 23-year-old Eritrean was near speechless after the breathtakingly exciting last stage: “This is a victory for Eritrea and all of Africa,” he beamed at the waiting press. “I don’t know what to say. It was a good result. I am so happy. I couldn’t believe it was possible to beat a rider like Luis Leon Sanchez who has won so much. But I did it finally, which means I’m starting to make a place for myself amongst the pros.”
Berhane’s performance is no bolt out of the blue: in 2011 he had already beaten UCI WorldTour riders to win a stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo-Tour du Gabon. He is two-times African road race champion (2011 and 2012) and part of the Eritrean National team that has won the African team time trial three years running. Last year he made headlines when he won the third stage of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey and spent three days in the leader’s jersey. “
For WCC Director Frédéric Magné, Berhane’s success is due not only to his obvious physical ability, but also to his intelligence and his drive.
“What struck us all when he was training at the WCC was his extreme intelligence coupled with a real desire for victory,” explains Mr Magné. “He rides to win and is a real fighter. He has everything it takes to succeed.”
The WCC Director underlined the young athlete’s maturity and long-term vision which saw him refuse initial offers from several teams, preferring to remain amateur until he received the professional offer he had set his sights on: “He took his time, thought carefully and waited to enter a very high-quality structure.”
Continued contact with former WCC coach
Berhane keeps in frequent contact with Jean-Jacques Henry, his coach at the WCC throughout the 2012 season, and phoned him shortly before the race in Gabon.
“His performances last year, particularly in Turkey, already showed what he was capable of,” says the coach. “He is concentrated, studious, knows what he wants and goes after it.”
Founded in 2002, the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, has trained more than 620 athletes from more than 120 countries in cycling’s different disciplines. Natnael Berhane is the second Eritrean athlete to turn professional on graduating from the WCC: Daniel Teklehaymanot trained at the WCC from 2009 to 2011 before joining Orica.GreenEdge in 2012.
Photo: Natnael Berhane had already demonstrated his potential last year when he won the third stage of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey
When Kiwi Chris O’Connor leaves the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, he will take with him 15 pages of notes that he made during the seven-week mechanics course. Despite his eight years’ experience as a mechanic, the last four with New Zealand’s national track and road team, Chris leaves the WCC with new skills, approaches and ideas.
“Coming into this course I thought I would be going over a lot of things I already knew,” he admits. “But it has been good to find a different way to approach things.”
The importance of preparation
In particular, he learned to place more importance on preparation, not only of bikes but also of their components: “You don’t just take something out of a box when you need it. You pull it apart and put it back together again. It is pre-loved by the time it gets ridden. Everything I do will be more high precision now,” he adds.
Chi Hang Jip (Kenny) agrees. “I have learned a lot here, a lot of details,” says the former athlete whose knowledge until now came largely from the Internet. For the last three years, he has been mechanic for Hong Kong’s national team, following them to stage races in the UCI Asia Tour and other competitions on the continent. His task is rendered complicated by the fact that he remains in Hong Kong while the team trains in China.
“I don’t see their bikes regularly so before a race I have a lot of work to do! When I was a rider I fixed my bike myself and it became a hobby.”
Course adapted to the mechanics’ needs
This was the third course of the new mechanics training programme introduced this year at the World Cycling Centre. For WCC Master Mechanic Alex Roussel, the result is positive: “Other courses exist for mechanics, but not where they can work at competitions,” he points out. “But we adapt to the situation and who is on the course. Kenny and Chris already had considerable experience at races so we did more in the workshop.”
The mornings at the WCC were devoted to learning, and in the afternoon the trainee mechanics worked as part of the WCC team. “They participated in everything we were doing and helped us out,” said Alex Roussel, who emphasised that both Chris and Kenny were accomplished mechanics.
The course at the WCC was punctuated by visits to different industry factories. Each of them also spent two days at the service course of Swiss Professional Continental Team IAM Cycling.
Chris O’Connor had more than a week out from the course to accompany the New Zealand team to Manchester for the opening round of the 2013-2013 UCI Track Cycling World Cup. On leaving Aigle, he will travel with the team to the second round in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
As for Kenny, he will return to his national team in Hong Kong with plenty of new ideas, although he has trouble pinpointing the highlight of the course: “It all seems so important,” he says after hesitation.
Mechanics courses in 2014
Three courses for mechanics are scheduled for 2014:
Rio 2016: it is the major goal of nearly all athletes. And of these seven in particular, because Rio de Janeiro is in their country. Since the mid-September, the seven Brazilian athletes and a coach are at the World Cycling Centre to prepare their qualification for the track cycling events of the next Olympic Games. The discipline is not yet one of the most popular in their country, but thanks to a three-month training camp at the WCC, the group is developing an efficient action plan.
“The Brazilians have an ambitious and realistic challenge,” is the estimation of Tim Carswell, their instructor at the World Cycling Centre. “Now is the right time to try to qualify. According to the UCI rules the athletes need to collect good results at the UCI World Cup events, Pan-American Championships and UCI World Championships. There are the first steps to Rio 2016 and we are making a plan all together to match them.”
As well as devising a step by step plan, with some essential dates on the calendar between now and the Games, the WCC is helping the athletes improve their physical level and technical skills.
They proved their speed at a UCI event at the beginning of October, the Trois Jours d’Aigle, taking the first three places in the Men’s keirin (Flavio Cipriano, Kacio Fonseca, Dieferson Borges) and second place in the sprint (Cipriano was beaten by another WCC trainee, Ireland’s Eoin Mullen).
The Brazilian athletes (1) are particularly pleased to be in Aigle as they have little experience riding on the track. Cipriano, aged 26, the country’s best sprinter, lives in the south-east, in Taubaté (State of Saõ Paulo), some 800 kilometres from the nearest velodrome. Much of the riders’ training therefore takes place on the road between two marks drawn on the tarmac to recreate the conventional distances of a track.
“At the end of December I will move near to a velodrome,” he explains. “It is high time that I do all I can to get ready for the Games. My experience at the World Cycling Centre is part of this process. For example, I am learning how to warm up correctly and effectively.”
Cipriano and his fellow Brazilian athletes are optimistic about the future of cycling in their country.
Their coach Emerson da Silva chose the group very carefully. “We have three women and four men,” he explains. “Each of them comes from a different region in Brazil in order to reflect the country’s diversity. Although Flavio Cipriano is our best athlete at the moment, we don’t want to rely only on him, because if he gave up cycling for one reason or another, all our work would stop with him. We are concentrating on a group of young athletes, aged between 18 and 20. They represent the future and our Olympic hopes.”
(1)The athletes training at the World Cycling Centre are: Emerson Da Silva, Dieferson Borges, Flavio Cipriano, Wellyda Dos Santos, Kacio Fonseca, Gabriela Nishi, Davi Pontarolli and Hyriah Tiemann.