Shaped by place: Environmental influences on the participation of young cyclists from disadvantaged communities in professional cycling.

Suzanne Stark, Theresa Lorenzo, Susan Landman


Objective: This qualitative study explored the influence of environmental factors on the performance of professional cyclists from disadvantaged communities.

Method: Photovoice, unstructured interviews, a focus group and a key informant interview were used as sources of data generation. 

Discussion: The findings relate to the experiences of three cyclists, their team and their manager. It is evident that the environment impacts in different ways upon the participation and performance of cyclists.  Four of the five clusters of environmental factors as specified by the International Classification of Function were used as a framework for the discussion.  Environmental factors discussed are Products and technology; The natural environment; Appreciating supportive relationships and attitudes and the relevance of Services, systems and policies. 

Conclusion: This study offers a fresh perspective from conventional sporting interventions by focusing on the influence of the environment on sporting performance rather than attempting to improve sporting performance.  It is evident that the significance of the environment should be considered more carefully by coaching staff as it could ultimately improve performance of cyclists who come from disadvantaged communities. Taking an occupational perspective, this article highlights the potential contribution of occupational therapy in the field of professional cycling.  

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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