Loughborough University has underpinned its commitment to women’s sport with the launch of a new Lightning Cycling franchise.
Developed with investment from The Recruitment Group, the new team will consist of six female athletes who will compete on the national stage.
The franchise will also boast an unrivalled backroom offer, with the team supported by University experts.
The interdisciplinary team includes support from experts in coaching, strength and conditioning, nutrition, performance lifestyle, physiology, physiotherapy, and performance analysis in bike fitting and training science.
The team also benefits from extensive cross-campus collaborative research and development, with the world-leading academic departments of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and engineering providing cutting edge sport science and aerodynamics support.
The team will perform in the National Road Series, National Circuit Series, the Tour Series, British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), and the recently announced ‘Loughborough Cycling Festival’, held on campus in May.
The team will also showcase its talents throughout April and May in the ZRL e-racing events.
Dr Dave Nichols, Loughborough University’s Cycling Programme Manager and Lightning Cycling lead said:
“The formation of the Lightning Cycling program is a huge statement of our intent and establishes Loughborough as the university leader in cycling.
“Our new Lightning team provides a unique development pathway for female athletes to combine the demands of rigorous elite racing and training schedules, while fully supported to complete a prestigious degree. We believe that elite cycling and education should not be a choice.”
With the addition of cycling, the University’s Lightning franchise offering now stands at four with teams already competing in netball, rugby, and cricket.
John Steele, Executive Director of Sport, Loughborough University, said:
“The Lightning Cycling programme reinforces our commitment to developing women’s sport at the highest level at Loughborough University.
“ The launch of our latest Lightning team brings a new cohort of elite-level athletes, supported by our world-leading performance teams, to our campus. The team competing on the national stage, will undoubtedly help attract the next generation of top sporting talent to Loughborough University.”
Ross Munro, Strategy & Integration Director, The Recruitment Group, explained the reasons behind its investment in Lightning Cycling:
“We partnered with the Loughborough Lightning cycling team for many reasons, the main being that their ethos to provide the very best education and professional athletic options to their students and riders has a huge amount of synergy with The Recruitment Group’s mission ‘to put people first’.
“Loughborough are the only university to offer this level of competition whilst allowing students to obtain a degree, and we loved that they are doing this and putting their athletes and students prospects first – both on and off the track.
“We’re looking forward to a deeply integrated partnership where we can utilise Loughborough’s performance expertise to support our employees to be the best they can be. From optimised nutrition and sleep strategies for our teams to national brand coverage through the University’s network and events, we’re incredibly excited to be working with the team from Loughborough Sport.”