Project Belgium (Development Program)
What is Project Belgium?
The Project 51 Project Belgium is a complete young rider development program with the sole aim of helping young riders achieve their dream of forging a career as a full-time elite bike racer.
How can Project Belgium help me achieve this?
There are many aspects to achieving this dream. Firstly, and basically, you need to be good enough! Sounds simple? Well it is and it isn’t. It’s is not just about numbers, it is more about knowing what to do with those numbers in a race to get results, having the mindset and determination, surviving the lifestyle, having the patience to allow yourself to develop at the right rate, networking, being in the right place at the right time, ensuring you make yourself marketable as a bike racer through your social media.
It’s tough. If you don’t have the right support and guidance through this journey, you’ll make it even tougher for yourself.
Belgium is the mecca for cycling. In Belgium, it is in their blood.
What makes it so?
It isn’t the pretty roads and countryside that makes it. It isn’t the long climbs and sexy curves of the descents that makes it. In Belgium, it is still a working-class sport, and if you work hard, you’ll achieve. It’s bike racing at its absolute basic. It’s hard, fast and brutal from the gun and you must be tough to survive it.
From youth category right through to masters, it’s the same. Big fields, narrow roads, lots of fighting for space and most importantly – the winners and the strong riders get the plaudits, not the high profile flashy social media ones.
Whatever type of rider you are, learning your race craft in Belgium is crucial. Even in the hilliest climbers’ races, the race to the bottom of the climb is just as crucial.
Can Project Belgium help me join a team outside of the UK?
Following this pathway for a non-Belgian rider is both a delicate and straight forward one. You must prove your worth at every level, before you move onto the next one.
Project 51 have been part of the racing scene for a long time and have a good relationship with many amateur teams. Due to producing good riders over the last 15 years who have proved valuable assets to teams, we are trusted to provide riders that teams can rely on.
Over the years we have placed riders with many good level amateur teams, with many of the riders progressing on to Pro teams.
Can I be part of Project Belgium?
Theoretically, yes. But choosing this route for your racing career is tough, so we need to ensure it’s the right route for you. Project Belgium is also aimed at female and male U23 riders, so you’ll need to be in the age group. Although occasionally slighter older riders are excepted.
You will already need to be at a certain physical level, and you’ll need to prove you’ve the right mindset to stand a chance of surviving it. You’ll also have to commit to a minimum of 12 months with us.
So, before we begin, we’ll arrange an initial chat (either in person or by phone), then if we proceed, conduct some testing, look at your existing numbers and have an interview with you to gauge your outlook on bike racing.
What else do you get from Project Belgium?
Project Belgium includes:
· A full one to one training program;
· An experienced rider, based in Belgium as your mentor;
· Accommodation in the Project 51 house in East Flanders;
· Regular workshops covering all aspects of racing and living abroad as a bike racer;
· Race calendar support;
· Race day support;
How much will it cost?
Project Belgium holds a minimum term of 12 months, running from 1st November through to 31st October the following year. The programme can be paid for by direct debit on the first of each month, or in one payment upon set-up. The monthly cost of the plan is £400.00.
What do I do next?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to state your interest in the project.
Once we receive your email, we will reply to you and arrange for some initial forms to be completed. After this point, we will provide you with a telephone or face to face chat to answer any initial questions and then arrange to book you in for your testing and interview.