On his development team…
Youth cycling and development has always been close to my heart. German cycling is growing every year, but doesn’t have the same infrastructure as some countries like France, Italy and Spain. When I was home for Christmas this year, my brother, who works with a small development team, came to me and told me the team didn’t have the funds to do all the races they wanted to in Germany. Yes, my brother is also a cyclist… and yes my mom is very stressed sometimes! Anyway, because they didn’t have the funding, I started to help him get sponsors.
My team manager Ralph Denk told me it was probably best to call the team after myself, as it will be easier to get sponsors. The partners will have a clear way to identify with the team. So in the end I got Bora, Abus, and Craft to come on board with us and now they are racing in this great new kit and have enough funding to go to the races they want to.
The riders are 15 and 16: its and under 17 team as we call it in Germany. The plan is to let it grow into a junior team, when we have a bit more money. There are 4 riders on the team, I’m sort of the team manager and they have a coach that goes with them to races.
They go to races in Czech republic, Austria, and all over Germany. There’s an 8 series competition series that leads to a national team junior qualification. This series is quite important to them now, and for their futures.
The biggest challenge was actually designing the kit. It took a lot of communication between craft and the other sponsors, I didn’t realise it would be so complicated! Things like logos changing size. Once it was set up it went quite smoothly, but took a little while to get there. (2 months!) It was longer than I thought.
On a day to day basis, I try to check in with all the riders, parents and the coach. I like to keep up with their results, and I like to advise them and help them prepare mentally. But I’m also helping with accounting and logistics, like which hotels etc. are best at which races.
I try to be in contact with each of the riders 2 to 3 times a week to keep up with what is going on with them. It’s really important to me that they continue to do well in school.
It’s nice: I really enjoy it. I try to be involved as much as I can. It was always my dream to have a development team and be involved with young riders, it’s fantastic to be able to kick start it when I’m still an active pro. I do see a long future with this, and hopefully the team lasts for many years.
Check out Paul’s team page on facebook
Words: Paul Voss @paulvoss86