In 2021 we launched our Total Scholarship Programme, providing people from underrepresented groups with a funded and supported route towards inspiring and encouraging others’ participation in cycling.
The scholarships are integral to the future of the sport, providing life-changing opportunities for aspiring coaches to accelerate the development pathways of those committed to developing themselves and cycling.
We caught up with scholar Max Holgate to hear about his scholarship journey…
“I'm 23 years old and I'm a student at Loughborough University, studying for a master's in physiology and nutrition. I got into cycling through my dad when I was very young and joined a local club when I was 13 off the back of the 2012 Olympics… and I've ridden race bikes ever since! At just 14 years old, I started coaching some of our younger joiners, going on to complete my Young Leaders Coaching Award along with my British Cycling Level 1 coaching qualification.
It was only when I joined Uni at 18 that my eyes were really opened to what coaching could be like at a competitive level in terms of training plans and the science behind training. From here I went on to help set up the Loughborough Training Development Pathway, helping progress my own coaching capability, whilst providing opportunities for others at the Loughborough Cycling Academy. It was during this experience that I heard about the Total Scholarship Programme with British Cycling.
The scholarship offers opportunities to gain experience of coaching and supporting riders as well as shadow British Cycling coaches, gaining first-hand experience of what coaching is like at the highest level. For me, this was the ticket I needed to make my career goal possible, taking my coaching to the next level - I'm grateful to the British Cycling staff for signposting such an opportunity. The scholarship cohort means so much to me - 18 of us coming together because of our passion for cycling or desire to coach, and supporting each other during shared experiences and opportunities as part of our journey - friends for life!
The opportunities that this scholarship has created are nothing short of incredible! If you want it, they've got it! There are opportunities across all different cycling disciplines too, and everything comes with the chance to learn too, whether that be from other scholars, coaches, or their network - you just have to ask! Personally, I've been keen to improve my understanding and ability of performance environments. I've been fortunate enough to have supported some fantastic events such as race trips for the men/juniors endurance squad, supporting the National School of Racing for youth riders, cycle cross development days for those heading to world cups, Commonwealth Game preparations for track riders, para-cycling track camps and talent ID days. These experiences have allowed me to progress in my own coaching and learn about what coaching environments are like at one of the best sporting organisations in the world.
Next year I will finish my master's and then aim to work in endurance support, and ideally cycling as a coach or physiologist. I have a specific interest in supporting those at a junior level, or those on a performance pathway, helping develop their ability on a bike, but also refining their good performance lifestyle behaviours resulting in a good athlete in elite sport.
I think I can influence the world of cycling in the future by having a good, holistic understanding of sports science paired with an innovative coaching ability. Sport, especially sports science is becoming more and more interdisciplinary in nature, and I can best use my physiology and coaching knowledge to support a group of athletes who are in a developmental stage of their cycling journey to perform at their best. My long-term dream is to make it into the world tour or senior teams and be at the forefront of training theory and innovation.”