The Braveheart Cycling Fund, which is backed by Olympic champion Chris Hoy, announces details of thePIC BY TDWSPORT.COM The Braveheart Cycling Fund, which was established last year to provide financial support to promising Scottish cyclists primarily to help them train and race abroad, has revealed the identities of the 15 young Scottish cyclists it will support in 2005. Among those who will receive backing are three young Scots - Alex Coutts, Evan Oliphant and David Smith - who recently signed with professional teams. Six riders were assisted by the fund in the first year, but with the generous backing of sponsors and donors and an expanded programme of fund raising events, the fund is this year able to award grants totalling some £15,000 to the 15 riders. The fund was set up by Brian Smith, the former Olympian and British champion, and is run by a committee of volunteers. Olympic champion Chris Hoy is the fund's official patron and former world champion and record holder Graeme Obree is a supporter. "It's fantastic to see the Braveheart fund going from strength to strength," said Hoy. "I support the initiative because I support Scottish cycling and I would love to see the next generation go on to achieve success and medals at the highest level. Even a small amount of support can make a big difference to a rider, particularly a young rider, and it's great that people in Scotland are getting behind the athletes who are trying to fulfil their potential." For more details on the fund go to www.braveheartfund.com The 15 riders backed this year are: Shane Charlton, age 15 (City of Edinburgh RC) Charlton is one of Britain's most promising young track cyclists. He represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Australia, in 2004, placing seventh in the kilo. He was silver medallist last season in the British sprint and pursuit titles, and he is the British under-14s record holder in the 1500m pursuit. Alex Coutts, age 21 (Flanders-Afin.com) Coutts is a specialist road climber in the mould of Scotland's former Tour de France great Robert Millar and he has been tipped for great things since winning the Junior Tour of Wales. Coutts has raced in Belgium for the last few seasons, but returned home last year to put in an impressive performance in the Tour of Britain. Ross Creber, age 16 (Sandy Wallace Cycles) Creber did the double last season, winning the Scottish youth mountain bike cross-country series and single-day championship, and then achieving the same feat in the winter cyclo-cross series and championship. He also featured on the BBC TV series Britain's Toughest Family where, with his mother, father and brother Hamish - also a leading young mountain biker - they won the title of Britain's fittest family. Kate Cullen, age 27 (City of Edinburgh RC) Having only taken up the sport four years ago, Cullen won four silver medals at last year's British track championships in Manchester. This earned her selection to the British team for the first World Cup of the season, in Moscow in November. She rode exceptionally well there to place fifth in her first international event and her first outing for GB. Katrina Hair, age 31 (Johnstone Wheelers) Another relative newcomer to cycling, Hair enjoyed an extraordinary season last year. She rode an excellent race to win the British 15km scratch race title at the national championships in Manchester, which followed her win in the World Masters Pursuit championship. At the end of the year she was voted the inaugural Braveheart Rider of the Year, being presented with the engraved glass trophy at the annual dinner. Gary Hand, age 23 (Pedal Power RT) Hand has been one of Scotland's top road riders for several years but last year he took the plunge, basing himself in France for the season and only returning for the Tour of Britain in September, where he distinguished himself with an attacking performance during the final stage in Westminster. This year he aims to achieve the results that might secure him a place in the St Etienne club, which acts as a feeder to some of France's top professional teams. Marco Librizzi, age 34 (City of Edinburgh RC) Librizzi was one of the country's top sprinters before he retired from the sport in his mid-twenties. But he returned in time to make a comeback in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where he partnered Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean to a bronze medal in the team sprint. Aileen McGlynn, age 31 (Johnstone Wheelers) McGlynn, with her tandem partner Ellen Hunter, became Britain's first gold medallist of last year's Paralympics in Athens, winning the 1km time trial in a world record time of 1.11.160. She followed that up with a silver medal in the sprint. Her goals this season are to win gold at the Paralympic World Cup in May, and to win gold in the European championships. Stuart McManus, age 18 (Glasgow Wheelers) McManus is one of Scotland's most promising young riders on the track and road. He represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Australia, riding strongly in the track events to finish 10th in the scratch race and 9th in the points race. He moves up to the under-23 category this year. Sean Newington, age 19 (North Beach Hotel/Dooley's Cycles) One of Scotland's best young road riders, Newington was also one of the first to be supported by the Braveheart Fund. Due to illness and injury he endured a tough 2004 but is hoping for better in his second season as a senior, to fulfil the promise he showed in the junior Tour of Wales two seasons ago. Evan Oliphant, age 22 (Recycling.co.uk-MG) One of Britain's strongest and most consistent young riders, Oliphant has been rewarded for this with a place in the UK's number one professional team for 2004. In the Recycling.co.uk-MG team he will ride alongside the bulk of Britain's Olympic track medallists from Athens, and it could be that Oliphant's best chance of future success lies on the track rather than the road. The Highlander also rode well to finish a strong 24th in the Tour of Britain. Tony Reidy, age 17 (North Beach Hotel/Dooley's Cycles) Reidy will ride this season as a second year junior with aspirations of making an impact in the British junior series. As a first year junior last season he impressed in Scottish senior races, achieving a string of high placings against riders far older. David Smith, age 19 (DFL) Raced with Gary Hand in France last season and then returned to the UK to represent Scotland at the Tour of Britain. At just 18 he achieved the notable feat of being the youngest rider to finish the race. And his reward for showing such considerable promise and maturity at such a young age is a two-year contract with a new UK-based but multi-national professional squad, Team DFL. Robert Wardell, age 19, (Sandy Wallace Cycles) One of Britain's most promising young mountain bikers, Wardell is renowned for his dazzling technical ability and natural endurance. He started riding a mountain bike at the age of 13 and made rapid progress when he started racing, winning a bronze medal in the British junior cross-country championship in 2003. He followed that with a bronze medal in the Scottish senior elite championships last year. David Young, age 18 (Probikesport) Young lives in the mountain biking heartland of the Borders, close to Innerleithen and Glentress, and he started the sport when he was eleven. He is now indisputably one of Britain's most exciting prospects in the thrilling discipline of downhilling. He is the British junior champion at downhill and 4-Cross (where four riders race head-to-head down a short, steep course), but the highlight of his career so far is his fifth place at last year's world junior championship in Les Gets, France.