Russian Global Cycling Project
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 Russian Technologies and Igor Makarov of ITERA. This year a Russian company named Rosneft with Igor Sechin as head also joined the Russian Global Cycling Project.
The main objective of the Project is the large-scale and countrywide development of cycling in Russia, from youth sports schools to continental and professional Russian teams. Along with that, the Russian Global Cycling Project lays special emphasis on promoting the image of Russia as a powerful sports country, one of the leaders of world sports community.
The Russian Global Cycling Project has been launched by creation of the first Russian professional team licensed to compete in the highest world cycling league – the ProTour. The team was given a name associated with Russia worldwide – “KATUSHA”.
During four years in the ProTour league (since 2010 – the World Tour), Katusha Team has taken strong positions among the leaders of the world cycling and proved itself as both a powerful and competitive team. Katusha’s successes have contributed greatly to growth in popularity of cycling in Russia.
After four seasons in the highest league, Katusha Team won 97 victories and 193 podium places having become number two in the UCI World Tour teams ranking in 2012.
Following the professional Katusha Team, a continental team named ITERA-Katusha was established in late 2009. This establishment has provided a brilliant opportunity for young Russian riders to compete in prestigious international races. Thanks to the Russian Global Cycling Project material and technical base, competent management, and high-level logistics ITERA-Katusha continental team has entered into the elite of European cycling. In three years of competitions, Russian riders of ITERA-Katusha won 73 victories and 123 podium places in the UCI Calendar races. Twice, in 2011 and 2012, ITERA-Katusha finished the season as the best continental team of Europe.
The successful policy in the field of professional cycling implemented by the RGCP management in 2008-2010 has allowed expanding significantly the work on further development and promotion of cycling in Russia. The RGCP has carried out a number of socially significant initiatives aimed at strengthening and modernizing material and technical base of sports schools in Russian regions, expanding the internal competitions calendar, granting a status of the main cycling competitions to the National Road and Track Championships.
In autumn 2010, the RGCP was expanded into four teams: the already existing Katusha and ITERA-Katusha were supplemented by two new youth teams for riders of 19-22 years of age who compete both in road and track races. In just two seasons of 2011 and 2012, riders of youth teams won 37 victories and 79 podium places.
The season of 2013 will be the fifth one from the beginning of the Russian Global Cycling Project. In the upcoming year, the RGCP will be pursuing new goals related to the development of both sports and social spheres. Still, the main efforts of the Project will be focused on strengthening Russian riders’ positions in Europe and around the world and ensuring they achieve victorious results at the largest international professional and youth competitions including the European and World Championships.
Having gained the invaluable four-year experience, the RGCP continues its way of success for the benefit of Russian cycling.