We Work in Four Key Areas


Established in 2012 with financial support from Global Relay, we are the Bridge The Gap Fund (BTG). Initially, BTG identified athletes in need of financial support, functioned as network connectors, agents and provided direct-financial assistance to athletes. As the BTG Fund matured, we brought on more benefactors, advisors and our work formalized in four key areas of need for Canadian Road Cycling:

Athlete
Grants

We provide financial support directly to athletes for 2-4 years –  helping them secure living incomes in professional trade teams.

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Mentoring
Athletes & Teams

We mentor athletes and provide trade team consultation services.  Our athlete mentoring program is led by BTG alumni Leah Kirchmann.

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Youth Cycling
Grants

We provide funding to youth (11-17yrs) focused cycling programs. We initiated the Canadian Youth Cycling Network & BC Youth Superweek.

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Special Project
Grants

We identify areas of strategic need, and fund special projects – in partnership with other cycling focused NGOs in Canada.

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OUR PURPOSE

Help emerging Canadian cyclists reach the forefront of international professional road cycling.


OUR STORY

What is the Gap?

In 1996, professional cyclists were eligible to compete in the Olympic Games, and the World Championship categories were harmonized to include professionals and amateurs together. Since then almost all Olympic and World Championship medals in road cycling are won by professional athletes. In the past 15 years, road cycling in Canada has experienced growth with the notable results including: Grand Tour Wins and World Championships medals and top performances at the Olympics.

Despite Canada’s progress, there is a gap that exists in the development of Canadian cyclists that are between the ages of 17 to 23. This is a critical point in an athlete’s development. Professional cycling is euro-centric and young Canadian athletes face numerous life challenges in order to stay focused, committed and financially capable of reaching the  top tier of cycling.

Unlike sports such as hockey, football, or basketball, there is no well-established path to the pro ranks in cycling, particularly in North America. Globally, pro cycling has a tiered system, similar to baseball, where riders can move through the ranks as they progress. In Canada there are no first or second division teams, and we have unstable 3rd division teams. In the USA things are better, with a stronger contingent of 1st, 2nd and 3rd division teams. Collectively, Canadian and US teams have been integral in developing Canadian riders, however, getting recruited by these teams requires strong results and networking with team managers and coaches – or sport directors.


How Did the Fund Start?

Vancouver-based professional cyclists Ryan Anderson and Will Routley along with Global Relay executive founders Warren Roy and Shannon Rogers conceived of the fund in 2012. Global Relay committed $400,000 over four years to ‘seed fund’ initiatives to support rising young cyclists in Canada until the 2016 Rio Olympics. Ryan and Will quickly recruited fellow professional riders Svein Tuft, Erinne Willock and Andrew Pinfold to conceive of and oversee BTG Fund activities.

Andrew retired from professional cycling at the end of the 2012 season and assumed responsibilities as Managing Director. Andrew brought in special advisors and Global Relay has renewed it’s four-year support twice. Global Relay renewed its commitment in November 2020, ensuring core funding is in place until 2024.


How does the fund work?

The BTG Fund is guided by five board directors with assistance from special advisors and values operating lean and being responsive to shifts and changes in the landscape of Canadian cycling.

Much like the sport of cycling, the Fund operates on a team-based mentality. Athletes, youth clubs or projects are selected to be beneficiaries of the Fund in the same way  trade teams recruit riders. A subjective mix of factors (talent, need, potential, attitudes & innovation etc) are considered by a group of people who know what it takes to turn pro in this sport. The athletes, clubs and partners are then part of the Fund’s “team” joining a committed journey to elevate Canadian cyclists to the professional level.

Since its inception the Fund has helped over 100 athletes, created a Youth Superweek Series, a Youth Cycling Development Network, worked with teams and stakeholders across Canada to make Canadian cycling better.

Nuts & Bolts

Board of Directors

Andrew Pinfold – Managing Director
Ryan Anderseron – co-Founder
Erinne Willock
Svein Tuft
Kevin Field

Emeritus

Will Routley – co-Founder

Special Advisors

Leah Kirchmann – Alumi & pro cyclist
Leah oversees the Athlete mentoring program and was an early beneficiary of the Fund.

Brian Storey – PHD
Brian consults on Youth Cycling Initiatives and strategy.

Mailing Address

Global Relay Bridge The Gap Fund
200 Cambie Street, 2nd Floor
Vancouver, BC – V6B 2M9