Two incredible pro cyclists will help lead BTG into the magic future

Exciting changes are happening for the Global Relay Bridge The Gap Fund. Leah Kirchmann moves from her work leading our athlete mentorship program to become the new Managing Director. Karol Ann Canuel formally joins the Fund to lead the Athlete Mentoring Program. Andrew Pinfold, who led the initiation and work of the Fund for nine years as Managing Director will remain on the board, and mentor Leah in her new role. Kevin Field takes on the role of Chair of the Board.

The purpose of BTG is to help emerging Canadian cyclists make it to the top of pro cycling. BTG sees cycling, and sport in general, changing in exciting ways. Having Karol Ann and Leah in key positions is pretty strategic:

Women’s cycling has the potential to transform the sport

This was highlighted in our recent business of cycling #conversation. BTG believes this is very true. Having the experience and insight of two incredible athletes and women who have experienced these changes happening adds invaluable insight to the direction of the Fund and the work we will focus on in the coming years. Three factors appear to be influencing cycling the most today: convergence between the endurance disciplines, younger and younger athletes breaking through at the top of the sport, and the fast evolution of the UCI Women’s World Tour and top women’s World Teams.

Currency is vital in times of rapid change

When change is happening quickly, we feel it’s important to have recent experience and insight to guide us strategically and in our the day-to-day work with the Fund. Karol Ann has ridden in the best international women’s cycling teams for the past 8 years. She is a 3 time World Champion, 5 time World Championship medalist, and two-time Olympian. Her teammates have included 4 of the last 6 Road World Champions. More importantly, she’s been part of exclusively women’s pro cycling teams. She’s seen the sport evolve from an invaluable perspective.

Leah continues to ride for one of the top UCI World Tour teams (Team DSM), one that integrates women, men and prioritizes athlete development – creating pathways from junior to U23 to the World Tour. Alongside her athlete career, Leah has been an advocate for athletes. She has been instrumental in evolving BTG and works with The Cyclist’s Alliance (TCA). BTG feels the TCA is doing some of the most innovative, important and instrumental work on gender equity in the sport of cycling today.

More ahead in the magic future

With Karol Ann, Leah, Svein, and Randy (Ryan) BTG is privileged to benefit from the insights of athletes with recent working experience in top UCI World Teams. We believe empowering athletes to lead, leads to great things. And working to create a lifecycle for our Canadian athletes, by keeping them engaged in the sport and our community is vital to advancing Canadian cycling. We’re thrilled to have Karol Ann and Leah in new positions as we work towards an uncertain, exciting, and magic future for Canadian cycling. The pandemic coupled with the rapid evolution of cycling in terms of gender equity is going to mean BTG must be smart, considerate, and really connected to the top of the sport in order to figure out the best ways to help Canadian cyclists navigate their journeys to the top of the sport. BTG will be introducing a couple of new initiatives along with our refreshing internal changes, so stay tuned.

BTG, its partners and collaborators are massively grateful for everything Andy has done in the past nine years to get us where we are today. It’s fitting to close with Andy’s words from an internal memo:

I am thrilled to have Leah as my successor and excited to support her as a board member and see her take the fund to the next level. Serving as Managing Director for the Fund has been a huge opportunity and privilege. I began this role nearly 8 years ago just as my professional career was finishing. I am so thankful for the experience it has given me which has no doubt opened doors and opportunities for me professionally. Further, it was a true pleasure working with Global Relay to advance our work.
– Andrew Pinfold

conversation on Instagram