The Williams Racing Academy Development Project is a US 501c3 non-profit group that exists to help develop the athlete who has chosen to pursue cycling to the highest levels. We bring coaching and training to the athlete in a team and family setting that is often lost when the athlete steps away from the traditional sports. Further, and more importantly, we pursue this mission with an emphasis on character building and leadership by giving these athletes the guidance and opportunity to be the type of over-achievers off of the bike as they are on it.
As far as cycling goes, it would appear that the talent is concentrated in Europe. The culture there has and continues to support cycling so that young athletes there have something of a head start compared to the US and countries outside of Europe. With the Williams Racing Academy Development Project, we aim to not only close that gap, but to move ahead. We firmly believe that the US offers ample talent and potential to be competitive on the international stage, and we can do this in a wholesome and healthy manner.
We do this by offering the coaching and training the rider will need to ensure the athlete is competitive at that level. We do this in a team environment where individuals must work together for the common good while maintaining the personal responsibility to contribute to the success and experience. With extended trips, we also give the athlete the opportunity to immerse in the communities we stay for training and racing abroad.
All of this combined allows the athletes of the Williams Racing Academy Development Project to have a rich and full experience that will help them achieve their goals and potential, but more importantly, it gives them a lifelong experience of what hard work and excellent work ethic can provide.
Ultimately, we provide the nurturing and support for an athlete to fully commit to their development as a cyclist, as a team member, and as an individual. The measure of success isn’t all about medals, championships and professional contracts; it is about whether the athlete truly becomes what he or she is capable of becoming.
Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable. – Coach John Wooden
How this all came to be…
WRADP officially began in Fall of 2010 when it was asked to coach, direct, and manage a junior development team for Slipstream Sports (Garmin-Cervelo at the time) to prepare riders for the U23/Continental feeder team. In less than a week, though, a new CFO for Slipstream Sports determined that there wasn’t a cost-benefit ratio that worked for them, and funding was eliminated.
We went ahead with the program anyway. We started with athletes already being coached by us, and then reached out to those athletes with whom we knew our guys got along. Our priority was chemistry, not going after riders with the most wins or medals. With no money or equipment at that time, we also reached out to athletes who wouldn’t be asking for lots of stuff. So, our first two years of that program were with athletes who 1) wanted to race together, 2) who were interested in development more than they were “hookup,” and 3) most importantly, athletes who wanted to race up as often and as far as possible.
So, our program has been under promising and overachieving since day 1!
After three years of running the program under the “Garmin” banner, and with the U23/Continental team eliminated after our first year, we opted to keep the program going without a team affiliation.
The program has helped produce dozens of national champions and medalists. It also has had dozens of wins and podiums in Belgium, other parts of Europe, and even at Worlds.
It isn’t a requirement that an athlete be a coaching client of Williams Racing Academy, but everyone who is a part of the program must fundamentally be able to follow Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, as this is our foundation. We perform better when we support each other. At its essence, that’s all this program is—athletes who want to work together to get as far as they can in the sport, successfully, because they believe they can go farther together than they can on their own.
Despite not recruiting from the USAC National Program, many riders from WRADP have gone on to compete for the National Team. Many of gone on to the professional ranks, and we expect that 2017 and 2018 will see some of these athletes make it to the Pro Tour. At the very least, athletes in our program know that they will get to compete in Europe to test themselves and develop. We’re not going to claim that every athlete will make it to the pro ranks. However, if they commit to the work and do so in the team environment, we do know that they will be successful.