ʺJust over a year ago Marko Vauhkonen contacted me and asked if I wanted to be involved in a new project that aimed to develop Finnish cycling talent, called Fincycling. The first thought I had after this phone call was “finally!” For many years I had watched Finnish cycling stand still, even move backwards, and wondered how this could be possible in a country with such a rich culture in endurance sports. It seemed to me that Finnish cycling was suffering not from a lack of talent, but a chronic self confidence problem. Fincycling, which brings together in one project almost all of Finland’s cycling expertise with the single aim of giving young riders a fighting chance at international level, is a golden chance to change that downwards slide, and give an energy boost to the whole movement.
From my first meetings with the group I was struck by the energy surrounding the whole project. This wasn’t some half hearted publicity stunt, things were being done seriously, with real thought. But in my time in cycling I have seen initial enthusiasm wear off quickly in similar projects, and a part of me wondered how long this project would manage to stay afloat.
One year on, and with thousands of kilometers driven and ridden through Europe over the summer, the project is going from strength to strength, always moving forward with determination and a clear desire to take things step by step. It is this realization that you cannot run before you can walk that sets this project apart from others, and given time, will ensure that it leaves a lasting mark on the sport in this country.
All those involved in Fincycling are working with the same enthusiasm as one year ago, and to succeed they will need the public to stay behind the project over the coming months and years. With some patience and luck, perhaps one day in the future we can celebrate the first Fincycling rider making it into the pro ranks.ʺ