Derbyshire Sport
Derbyshire Sport

British Cycling CEO shares insight into success at ICON business breakfast

4 March 2013

British Cycling Chief Executive Officer Ian Drake was the guest speaker at the latest business breakfast for members of Derbyshire sport and business network ICON, and gave an insight into how British Cycling has grown to become the most successful governing body of sport in Great Britain.

He told how the governing body had used an ‘inspiration to participation’ strategy to encourage more participation in cycling on the back of its successes at elite level, which included 14 Olympic medals in Beijing.

Ian said: “We wanted the medals to work harder that just being around someone’s neck by bringing elite sport and participation together.

“The challenge was to ensure growth in the sport. There is no point encouraging people into the sport if there is nowhere for them to go.”

He said British Cycling’s success boiled down to world class facilities, clarity of vision and purpose, exceptional people, and funding.  He also highlighted how its commercial partnerships, particularly with Sky, had huge benefits.

He said: “Prior to 2008 we had very few commercial sponsors and funding mainly came from the Lottery. We knew we had to become more commercial, we wanted to get people riding but we didn’t have the reach which Sky has been able to give us.”

Ian also told of his excitement at the work to build a multi-use sport arena in Derby, which will include a national standard 250 metre indoor cycling track, and a 1.5km outdoor closed cycle circuit.

The arena is due to open in November 2014, and Ian said it would be a magnet for talent.

He said: “The key thing that will make the difference will be the facility, in terms of the amount of people it can reach. Once you get the hardware in place it will attract talent and I have no doubt that someone who starts out at the arena will be up there competing at the Olympics or Paralympics in 2024.”

Ian, who joined British Cycling in 1998 and became CEO in 2009, was speaking at the event at The Gateway Centre in Derby on Thursday, February 28.

He was joined by Mark Smith from Cycle Derby who gave an overview of the work to increase participation in cycling in the city.

Guests also heard from some of Derbyshire’s most promising young cycling stars, Rosie Blount, James Shaw and Emily Watson-Thoday, who have each received a bursary through ICON for 2013.

ICON was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games in Derbyshire.

It aims to help businesses to take positive steps to encourage their workforce to become more active and engage in new developments, as well as giving businesses the chance to connect with other local organisations who share their interest in sport.

The scheme also gives businesses the chance to connect with Derbyshire’s most talented young sports performers and support them on their journey, and money raised from the scheme’s £300 annual membership fee is used to support local athletes.

To find out more about ICON, or if you would like to become a member, please contact Rory Slater on 07885 885720.

ICON is supported by the following local authorities: Derbyshire County Council, South Derbyshire District Council, North East Derbyshire District Council, Derby City Council, High Peak Borough Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, Bolsover District Council, Erewash Borough Council, Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council.

ICON members also include Active Nation, Amber Valley School Sport Partnership, Brampton Manor, Chesterfield School Sport Partnership, Community Sports Trust, Cooper Parry, Derby College, Derby County FC, Derby Telegraph, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Destination Chesterfield, East Midlands Airport, Flint Bishop LLP, Geldards, Genting Club Riverlights, Innes England, International Golf Development, John Felix Films, Johnson Health Tech UK, Lonsdale Swimming and Sports Trust, Manx Engines Derby, Marketing Derby, Morley Hayes, Nuffield Health Derby Hospital, Orchid, Origination, Rolls-Royce, Smith Cooper, Spirit Medical, Technogym UK, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, University of Derby and webdna Ltd.

Pictured above, back from left, is Cllr Carol Hart, Chair of Derbyshire Sport; Ian Drake and Mark Smith, Project Coordinator for Cycle Derby. Front from left are Derbyshire cyclists Rosie Blount, James Shaw and Emily Watson-Thoday.  

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