Helen Wyman is launching an initiative to help locate and support developing riders and perhaps transform them into the leading athletes in cyclocross.
The nine time National and twice European Champion has unveiled a project called ‘NEXT Wyman’ – which will help riders with areas such as calendar planning, access to appropriate events, confidence, equipment, and quality training facilities.
The project has the support of USA wheel supplier, NEXT, hence the name. NEXT is run by Wyman’s good friend Jerry Chabot and currently they have the resources to back one rider. Wyman hopes more sponsors can be found which will allow her to nurture up to three riders in the first year and perhaps more after that.
As well as helping athletes to cut down on the “energy sapping” decisions and admin, Wyman also hopes that the NEXT Wyman riders will be able to benefit from riding with her – she said: “I will be riding for at least two more seasons with Kona Factory racing, so I want to make sure that these riders are riding alongside me whenever possible in training as well as hitting the best possible racing program for them. It’s important to me this process begins while I’m still at the top of my game.” She also added: “Hopefully a NEXT Wyman rider can go on to surpass what I’ve achieved in the sport.”
Cyclocross has made some great moves towards equality over the past year – with prize funds reaching a more equal footing and the introduction of the U23 category. Wyman said: “There is more interest than ever in our side of the sport. I want NEXT Wyman to be the springboard riders need to help commit to cyclocross and make it their career choice in the sport.”
Greater sponsorship is required to expand the backed riders to three – Wyman said: “Jerry and I both hope that solid corporate interest can be found in the project, to allow it to have more than the one rider we are currently planning. I’d love to help up to 3 riders in the first year, and I’d be very interested in helping a rider from USA transition to European racing. I’ve got a massive soft spot for US Cross, and I often see hugely talented riders struggle with the transition. It shouldn’t be hard, but frequently riders are making a combination of tiny energy sapping decisions on and off the bike, which haven’t allowed them to perform to their full potential on the biggest stage. I’d love to help someone out in that respect.”
She added: “I’d like this to be a two-year project for each rider. I often see one-year development options, but I’m not the biggest fan of that. You learn a lot in a year, and also make a lot of mistakes, but then find yourself out on your own, when really you need that stable environment to continue and an opportunity to put those lessons into practice. I was always told cross is an apprenticeship and strongly believe this to be the case as there is so much to learn. With this development project I aim to guide others on this accelerated pathway to the top.”
Any interested sponsors, riders, and equipment suppliers can get in touch with Helen directly via firstname.lastname@example.org