COE Award 2023 2

USA Cycling Centers of Excellence Announces 2023 Winners, Recognizing Top Junior and U23 Development Teams

By: Eric Bennett  June 05, 2023

14 Junior and Under-23 development teams have been rewarded for their continued effort to shape the future of American cycling.

The USA Cycling Centers of Excellence (COE) program unveils its prestigious winners for 2023, celebrating the outstanding achievements of Junior and Under-23 development teams in the United States that are nurturing young cycling athletes. 2023 saw a record number of applications, nearly doubling the volume of previous years. The teams listed below met stringent criteria to receive grants from the USA Cycling Foundation, enabling them to further their efforts in shaping the future of American cycling. With a focus on athlete development and measurable success, these programs have consistently demonstrated their ability to produce highly competitive riders and contribute to the growth of the sport nationwide.

Tier 1 Recipients:

  • Boulder Junior Cycling (Boulder, Colo.) – BJC is a highly successful cycling club that has earned the Center of Excellence designation for 15 years in a row. They prioritize inclusivity, actively working to broaden participation among girls and underrepresented groups by offering financial aid and free equipment. With over 50 national championships and a consistent presence at the World Championships for 10 years, BJC produces successful athletes who go on to join professional and top collegiate teams. Safety is paramount, as they are the only club in the U.S. to achieve Gold in USA Cycling’s Club Safe Sport Program for three consecutive years. Additionally, this team emphasizes the principles of long-term Athlete Development and actively contributes to the community through various volunteer initiatives and hosting local races.
  • Star Track Cycling (New York, N.Y.) – Star Track’s success lies in their dedicated staff tirelessly motivating and mentoring young riders, while the riders themselves exhibit unwavering dedication, hard work, and a passion for racing and other cycling endeavors. This team remains committed to providing a completely free program without any barriers to entry and measure success only by the smiles they bring to the faces of participants.
  • Virginia's Blue Ridge TWENTY24 DEVO (Roanoke, Va.) - The success of VBR TWENTY24 Devo Women's program stems from the sustainable sporting and team-building environment they’ve established for junior female athletes. Team gatherings play a crucial role in promoting team bonding, effective communication, personal and team responsibility, and optimal teamwork skills, and were awarded this grant to help foster the continuation of their program that offers a unique opportunity for female junior cyclists. A program that serves as a home for these athletes, enabling them to develop into accomplished collegiate cyclists, professional athletes, or lifelong enthusiasts of the sport.
  • Avout Racing (Denver, Colo.) - In 2022, Avout Racing achieved remarkable growth, earning recognition as a top junior team nationwide and receiving the Center of Excellence designation from USA Cycling. They were also honored as the USA Cycling Junior Club of the Year. The team continues to expand in 2023 with new locations, increased sessions, and greater participation in national races for their team. Avout Racing offers comprehensive programs that guide young cyclists from beginner stages to elite competition, while also emphasizing character development and community involvement. Supported by grants and the Center of Excellence designation, they expect over 350 juniors to join this year, benefiting from a dedicated team of over 50 coaches.

Tier 2 Recipients:

  • Galbraith Gravity Racing (Bellingham, Wash.) - Galbraith Gravity’s success is rooted in key factors such as prioritizing fun and safety, investing in coaching certifications, and establishing a strong team culture. As a true non-profit, they foster excellent stewardship by requiring financial contributions from officers and board members. They remain mission-focused, removing barriers to youth racing through a local race series and implementing initiatives for underserved communities. Effective communication, adherence to the USA Cycling athlete development model, and a focus on discipline are central to their approach. Their calendar includes training, racing, and fun sections, and their coaches share knowledge through additional programs.
  • EuroCrossAcademy (Helena. Mont.) - In 2022, ECA worked with over 60 aspiring student-athletes, drawing talent from various sources such as individual programs, local clubs, regional teams, USA Cycling's Athlete Development Pathway, and the National Team. All ECA athletes showed significant progress toward reaching their highest potential. Additionally, 19 athletes from the pool competed for ECA's Academy Team in two European race blocks, while ECA played a crucial role in the development of 8 out of 9 juniors and 2 U23s selected to represent Team USA at the 2023 World Championships. As a program rather than a team, ECA's influence extends wide and deep, contributing to a broader pool of skilled bike racers due to the foundational and innovative nature of cyclocross as a discipline.
  • Greater Houston Cycling Foundation (Houston, Tex.) – The Alkek Velodrome, managed by the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation, is a vibrant hub for bike racing in Houston, the fourth largest city in the US. With approximately 30 racing events annually, including Junior racing, the velodrome welcomes participants from all backgrounds, offering free access to riding and racing and equipment. It stands as the sole junior track program in the state, featuring free camps to introduce children to track cycling and a year-round program focusing on building confidence, fitness, and leadership skills. The program's success is driven by dedicated volunteers, who are parents, riders, and community members, and it is sustained through fundraising, sponsorships, grants, and donations, with initiatives such as volunteering at local rides and hosting fundraising events to support the junior racers.
  • Edge Cycling (Allentown, Pa.) - Edge Cycling aims to grow and develop all Edge Cycling Athletes to a National and World Class level. While continuing to place athletes into their National Team Structure, so that they may represent the U.S. in the World’s largest competitions.
  • Velosport Cycling, Inc (Irvine, Calif.) - The elite junior program caters to entry and intermediate-level juniors, with regular Saturday rides held in Orange County, CA, and support for riders interested in racing. Velosport Cycling is the primary development team for juniors in Southern California and serves as a feeder team for Hot Tubes.
  • Detroit Velodrome (Detroit, Mich.) - As one of the two indoor velodromes in the United States, the Lexus Velodrome offers year-round riding and racing opportunities for the track racing community. While placing a strong emphasis on youth, the Velodrome provides free access for young riders to participate, compete, and represent the facility at local, national, and international competitions. The velodrome also welcomes track racers of all ages and skill levels, offering structured programs for 52 weeks a year and hosting over 40 races annually.
  • CT Cycling Advancement Program (Middletown, Conn.) – CCAP is a dedicated non-profit organization that provides access and opportunities for over 400 youth (aged 9-18) annually to engage in cycling. With more than 30 active teams across mountain, road, and cyclocross disciplines throughout Connecticut, they offer team practices, organized events, and a structured athletic development pathway. Their focus extends beyond competitive cycling, aiming to foster positive personal development in their athletes while promoting community engagement. Encouraging teamwork and volunteerism, they emphasize compassion, positivity, and dedication, aiming to create lifelong cyclists regardless of racing involvement. The program's Travel Team Riders, who participate in national-level races, take pride in volunteering not only for the organization but also for other entities within the state.
  • Dirt Camp Racing (Huntsville, Ala.) - Dirt Camp Racing is a unique team with a mission to support athletes in off-road cycling, guiding them from the developmental stage to the professional level. Their holistic approach focuses on overall personal growth, encompassing athletic advancement, character development, educational support, and career preparation. The team prides itself on a strong team culture centered around their RAPID Core Values - Respect, Accountability, Perseverance, Integrity, and Discipline. As a non-profit corporation, Dirt Camp Racing is dedicated to inspiring and nurturing well-rounded athletes from across the nation.
  • Genesee Valley Cycling Club (East Rochester, N.Y.) - Genesee Valley Cycling Club’s junior cyclocross development program has played a significant role in shaping the careers of prominent cyclists such as Magnus Sheffield, AJ August, Miles Mattern, and Grace Mattern. Moreover, the program continues to attract and nurture young talents with similar potential. Supported by a close-knit community of dedicated parents and coaches, the program creates an environment conducive to the advanced skills development of juniors across all age groups.
  • Team Swift (Santa Rosa, Calif.) - Team Swift is a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying, recruiting, and developing cyclists from a specific region, equipping them with the necessary resources to advance in the sport. Over its 25-year existence, the team has consistently prioritized making a positive impact on American cycling. Not only have they achieved remarkable athletic success, including national championship victories, but their top graduates often earn opportunities to represent the United States on the national team and even pursue professional careers. Team Swift's comprehensive coaching program offers structured training plans for riders of all levels, complemented by a robust schedule of races, training rides, and mentorship initiatives fostering growth among younger cyclists.

Selection Process and Criteria

The Centers of Excellence grant program by USA Cycling supports Junior and Under-23 development teams that excel in nurturing young cycling athletes. These teams are chosen based on specific criteria. They must have a successful operational history, provide a comprehensive athlete pathway, participate in national events or regional camps, have registered coaches, and adhere to SafeSport practices. Additionally, they must be licensed clubs or teams in good standing with USA Cycling and registered as non-profit organizations.

The grant selection process involves an independent review by a panel of experts. Each application is evaluated and scored, with the median score determining the final ranking. Grants are awarded in two tiers: Tier, receiving $5,000 each (four winners), and Tier 2, receiving $2,500 each (ten winners). These grants aim to recognize and support teams that consistently develop young riders into competitive athletes and contribute to the growth of cycling in the United States.