Canyon-SRAM announced Wednesday that they have hired expert Christine Kalkschmid to build a comprehensive and long-term diversity and inclusion programme. Engaging with an external diversity and inclusion consultant that focuses on dialogue and education was listed as part of an action plan highlighted by the team and their clothing sponsor Rapha following a controversy over Chloe Dygert’s social media conduct last year.
The team hired Kalkschmid, a lawyer, athlete and health and nutrition coach, to help develop a comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion program at the end of 2020. Kalkschmid will help implement and refine the programme with the team over the next three years, according to a statement from Canyon-SRAM.
The team stated that the program does not only include measures to create awareness and continuing education on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion but also personal and team development and a long-term plan to hire and develop diverse talents.
“I am looking forward to getting to know the riders and the staff personally after our online meetings and I am more than happy to support the team on this important path with all my knowledge and experience,” said Kalkschmid, who will join Canyon-SRAM at both team training camps in January and February to work with the riders and the team, which will be used to gain momentum and to drive the topic forward.
Dygert, who signed a four-year contract with Rapha-sponsored Canyon-SRAM, publicly apologised for her conduct on social media, which included appearing to agree with transphobic and racist statements posted on Twitter. The criticism of Dygert’s social media actions and sub-par apology led to Canyon-SRAM clothing sponsor Rapha taking an unprecedented step to ‘wholeheartedly condemn’ those activities’.
In their statement on Wednesday, Canyon-SRAM stated that the team stands for and promotes open-mindedness, tolerance, respect and team spirit, and that the implementation of a Diversity and Inclusion programme is intended to renew their commitment and to expand this attitude by putting a stronger focus on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion.
“We are convinced that working on these topics is the way to improve and sustain our performance in the long run and to drive the change in the sport of cycling,” said the team’s manager Ronny Lauke.
“To succeed as a team, we need different skills, talents, experiences and perspectives. We have set ambitious goals to make Canyon-SRAM Racing a more diverse and inclusive team. Showing how this helps a team succeed will also attract more diverse talents and change our sport over time.”