The Russian Global Cycling Project (RGCP) is a unique sports project with a strongly pronounced social component which was conceived, developed and created in 2008 thanks to the heads of three Russian companies: Alexey Miller of Gazprom, Sergey Chemezov of Rostec and Igor Makarov of ITERA.
The main objective of the Project is the global development of cycling in Russia: from youth sports schools to continental and professional Russian teams. The Russian Global Cycling Project also places special emphasis on promoting the image of Russia as a powerful sports nation, one of the leaders in the world sports community.
The work inside the Russian Global Cycling Project has been launched by creation of the first Russian professional team licensed to compete in the highest level of world cycling: the ProTour; and the team was given a unique name that is associated with Russia worldwide: KATUSHA.
During its first five years in the ProTour (WorldTour since 2010) league, Katusha Team has gained a solid position as one of leaders of the global cycling and clearly proven to be a powerful and competitive squad. Katusha’s successes in the WorldTour have greatly contributed to growth in popularity of cycling in Russia.
During Katusha Team’s five seasons at the very top of the sport of cycling, the Russian team has won 127 races, with 243 podium places, establishing the team as one of the three best professional cycling teams worldwide in 2012 and 2013 (Katusha placed 2nd in 2012 and 3rd in 2013 in the UCI WorldTour Team ranking).
Following the successful establishment of the WorldTour team Katusha, the Russian Global Cycling Project established a Continental team named ITERA-Katusha in late 2009. This new squad has provided a brilliant opportunity for young Russian riders to compete in prestigious international races.
The material and technical base already developed by the Russian Global Cycling Project as well as its excellent management and high-level logistics has helped the ITERA-Katusha team to enter into the elite of European cycling. In four years of competition, Russian riders from ITERA-Katusha have won 81 races as well as 134 podium places in the UCI Continental Calendar races. Two times, in 2011 and 2012, ITERA-Katusha was ranked number one Continental cycling team in Europe.
The successful elite cycling policy pursued by the Russian Global Cycling Project in 2008 – 2013 has seen a significantly expansion of the development and promotion of cycling in Russia. The RGCP has carried out a number of socially significant initiatives in Russia aimed at strengthening and modernizing the material and technical base of sports schools in Russian regions, expanding the internal competition cycling calendar in Russia, providing the status of the main cycling competitions to the Russian National Road and Track Championships.
One of the key directions of the RGCP activities has become the development of cycling in Russian regions. In 2012, Igor Makarov, the President of the Russian Cycling Federation and the head of the RGCP launched a new cycling development program named START. The START program is aimed not only at enhancing regional cycling development in Russia but also at inciting the maximum possible number of children and teenagers to systematically practice various cycling disciplines, promoting healthy lifestyles and preparing reserve riders for Russia’s national cycling teams. This goal has been successfully achieved. Other objectives of the START program are to improve the material and technical base of children cycling schools in Russia, increase the quality of training programs and ensure safety and security during training and competitions.
2014 will see the sixth season of the Russian Global Cycling Project. In the upcoming year, the RGCP will continue to pursuing new goals related to the development of both sports and social spheres. Just as before, the main efforts of the RGCP will focus on strengthening its Russian riders’ positions in European and global cycling as well as ensuring they achieve victorious results at the largest international professional and youth competitions including the European and World Championships.
Having gained the invaluable experience in the previous five years, the RGCP will keep on climbing the ladder of success for the benefit of the Russian cycling.