Health and care brands company Ascendis Health is striving to elevate and develop young cyclists through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program; the Ascendis Academy initiative.
After the ongoing successful two year sponsorship of two of South Africa’s top female mountain bikers; Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag with Team Ascendis Health the company has now set its sights on the promotion of young road racing athletes from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
In partnership with LEADout, a cycling academy, which aims to nurture and hone the skills of aspiring young cyclists, Ascendis Health, is adding their unique touch, with the help from their premier health and care brands, to better train, inspire and empower these young cyclists.
The sponsorship program is still in its initial phase however, two recently matriculated girls and two recently matriculated boys from the Oudtshoorn district and Grassy Park have been selected. LEADout closely guides these cyclists through a four-step process, which includes, identifying their talent and exposing them to a road-racing career, evaluating their discipline and commitment as well as matching their academic goals with their cycling racing opportunities.
LEADout aims to bridge the gap between just “putting bums on bikes” to nurturing performers that can compete in the national and international arena. LEADout Managing Director Barry Austin, a South African former pro cyclist on the European circuit and Commercial Relations manager, South African cycling icon Malcolm Lange remain realistic when it comes to achieving and sustaining these goals however. In their experience, they have seen less than 10% of juniors per year make it on a professional domestic level and only 2% per year on an international level.
“We know the ratio of youngsters turning professional in sport is low and whilst we hope to increase this and that some of our identified talent bridge that gap, we know some are not. The idea is that those that do not make it still walk away winners in the sense of gaining extra education whilst chasing their dreams.”
These goals align with Ascendis Health’s vision, which is to build a remarkable business of synergistic human, plant and animal health brands across the value chain, that all aim to enhance certain aspects of the user’s life. These groups of product brands include health, beauty and sporting performances products such as Solal, Nimue, PharmaNatura, Evox, Supashape, Bolus and SSN; products that would be advantageous in most upcoming and professional athletes’ hands.
“Supporting pinnacle-performers in such a fast-growing, health-focused and prominent sport is a carefully considered alignment of our company, our brands and our vision,” says company CEO, Dr Karsten Wellner, himself a keen sportsman and somebody who also loves to keep Ascendis Health on a winning track.
Through a dedicated program and the right performance enhancing products, together Ascendis Health and LEADout Cycling make a winning team when it comes to supporting and developing South Africa’s young cycling talent.