Canadian Cyclist


December 9/15 10:42 am - Zach Bell Founds Parcours Cycling for Pro Rider Certification

Posted by Editoress on 12/9/15

Canadian Olympian Zach Bell will head up a new venture called the Parcours Institute, which is intended to provide aspiring pro cyclists and staff with certifications that will assist them in joining the pro peloton.

Bell has gathered together a group of cycling professionals to offer a curriculum covering topics ranging from nutrition, media training, sponsor relations and racing skills, to developing team communal skills and learning the economics of pro cycling.

"Young athletes in North America have a broad range of options for training their physiology, but to this day there has been no centralized training program for all the demands of the pro circuit," says Bell, Parcours' Directing Manager. "These demands include media and sponsorship relations, nutritional challenges, and navigating the complex frameworks surrounding anti-doping policies among others. Athletes have had to learn these skills over time and only after they are accepted into professional teams - and that is just not necessary."

"Many of these skills can be taught, quickly and efficiently, before the athletes enter the professional ranks. Our certification does just that, while at the same time, giving our alumni an extra credential recognized by some of North America's best teams, a credential that will help put them a cut above the competition fighting for coveted professional team spots."

Silber Pro Cycling and Holowesko Citadel, along with Axeon, H&R Block Pro Cycling, and Circuit Sport (the parent company of both the Men and Women Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies teams) have all contributed and endorse the programs curriculum. This is a core of teams that have demonstrated an ability to create great professionals over time, and the support is a huge vote of confidence in the Parcours program from the teams who are leading the way in athlete development.

"Most elite cyclists learn about anti-doping, nutrition, team dynamics, the business of cycling and even training by grabbing chunks of information from a variety of sources over time," said Scott McFarlane, team owner of Silber Pro Cycling. "Parcours synthesizes the legal, physiological, social and economic realities of being a professional athlete into an invaluable intensive educational program. Silber Pro Cycling welcomes the arrival of Parcours onto the cycling scene because we want to work with awesome athletes who are informed ambassadors for this incredible sport."

"The involvement of the teams has been crucial, and I can't thank these industry leaders enough," said Bell. "They are the ones who recognized something was needed in the development and recruitment of athletes. Cycling is a professional sport, requiring both professional and conventional training to get ready for its requirements. The sponsors are all professionals in their respective industries, and they want to associate with other professionals. It shouldn't be the only way to the pros, but athletes who have questions about the path can choose Parcours Cycling as a place to find answers."

In conjunction with the athlete program, Parcours will also offer staff training programs for interested mechanics and massage certified practitioners. These courses will involve live athlete exercises and culminate with live race internship placements on professional teams. This will give graduates a direct connection to the industry.

In the first year of operations, all programming will be offered in a spring intensive training course and space will be limited. Athletes are encouraged to apply early. Early Bird application pricing will apply until December 23, 2015, with the Stage 1 session (February 15-25, 2016) costing $4000.

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