The Cyclists’ Alliance has announced a new initiative entitled The Cyclists’ Alliance Duty of Care Framework, supported by Supersapiens. The aim of the new proposed framework is to prioritise female riders’ mental and physical health and ensure that no athlete can unknowingly or knowingly push their body past its limitations and cause negative long-term effects on the mind, body and its systems.
The proposed framework attempts to ensure that riders feel empowered and nurtured, both physically and mentally. Its aims are:
- educating and helping athletes to recognise symptoms and develop a range of self-management skills that they can utilise to manage physical or psychological distress through educational resources and workshops
- equipping key stakeholders in the elite sporting environment to better understand, recognise and respond to concerns regarding an athlete’s mental and physical health through an annual conference/training/certification
- creating a minimum requirement of medial test and checks that athletes must meet in order to compete.
The framework will cover a variety of topics and focus on the additional complexities of the female physiology that must be taken into consideration for female professional cyclists. Topics include but are not limited to menstrual health and contraceptives, breast health, RED-S, concussion, cardiac screening, exercise-induced arterial endofibrosis, in addition to other items.
“It has been clear to us at TCA from the very beginning that women’s cycling has different issues to men’s cycling, thus an independent union was needed to support female professional riders adequately. Female health and performance is an issue we want to highlight as unique and important, and it is now coming to light that better education, resourcing, and support is needed for our riders and those that manage them. Knowledge is power, and we want to provide another aspect in giving power back to our female riders. Using evidence-based research and a panel of industry experts, with the support from Supersapiens, will enable us to push for a higher standard of health, well-being, and duty of care in professional women’s cycling.” – Gracie Elvin, former professional cyclist and Co-Founder of The Cyclists’ Alliance