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Women’s scholarships for Sport Directors course: 2017 applications open

Donna Rae-Szalinski, Wiggle High5 Sports Director
Donna Rae-Szalinski, Wiggle High5 Sports Director

Like last year, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will award seven scholarships to women wishing to attend the Sport Directors course which will take place this year from November 6 to 12 at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.

The UCI launched the Sport Director training programme in 2010. The course is organised once a year at the end of the road racing season, and the final exam is now mandatory for anyone working as a Sport Director (in French Directeur Sportif – DS) for a UCI WorldTeam or UCI Professional Continental Team. Although not yet obligatory for DS’s working for UCI Women’s Teams and UCI Continental Teams, it is highly recommended that they also attend the course and sit the exam.

Colombian Ana Vivas (left) and Charline Joiner, of Great Britain, are part of the new generation of Sport Directors

The aim of offering these scholarships is to increase the number of women participating in the course and the number of women working as Sport Directors, while at the same time increasing even further the professionalism of women’s teams.

With the exception of travel to and from Aigle, the UCI will cover all costs of the course for successful scholarship applicants, including full board, course fees and material.

While priority will be given to women with experience as a DS or rider, scholarship applications are open to any women considering such a career choice. All requests will be studied attentively and receive a reply mid-October.

Some women who have already benefitted from the scholarship share their experience:

Iris Slappendel retired from competitive cycling at the end of the 2016 season. Looking for a new professional challenge, she completed the DS course last year:

“Deciding to retire as a professional cyclist was a big decision for me. I was finished with racing, but my passion for women's cycling is still there. I want to pass on this passion, but also my experience and knowledge. The scholarship gave me the perfect opportunity to really see what it takes to be a Sport Director.

“It has given me more of the theoretical knowledge about race rules and team management but also, and I think this is even more important, it has given me some great tools for how to really shape a team and interact with your riders. The course was pretty intense and working together with the other 'students' was very inspiring. It has given me the confidence to make the step into a team car someday soon!

“It was also great to see the other women with the same passion and drive, and hopefully soon, we will have more qualified female Sport Directors and we can keep more former riders connected to this sport.”

Ana Vivas works for the Federación Colombiana de Ciclismo and participated in the course in 2016: I’ve been using that information for improving my work with the national road teams, so we fulfill their needs the best we can.”

Other participants highlight particular sections of the course, such as Patricia Schwager, DS for the UCI Women’s Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank, who completed the course in 2016:

“The DS training programme at the UCI World Cycling Centre gave me very good insight on all the UCI rules and regulations. I also really liked the three days where we learned about leadership. Being a good leader is important for a DS. The knowledge I received at the UCI course is definitely very useful for my DS job and when I'm on the road as DS.”

Scholarship applications can be sent to the UCI up until September 25th. The scholarship application form is available here.

For more information: formation@uci.ch and morgane.gaultier@uci.ch.

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