Llori Sharpe, Jamaican cyclist, has signed a one-year contract with the Germany cycling team Canyon-SRAM Generation, becoming the first Jamaican cyclist to contract with a European team. After participating in her new team’s first training camp in Mallorca, Spain, Sharpe will attend a second camp in Valencia before races will begin in Europe. Over the coming nine months, Sharpe and the team will compete in 53 races; most races will take place in European countries, but two will be staged in the United States. Competing in the races gives Sharpe the chance to accumulate the points she needs to improve her world ranking and work toward qualification for the 2024 Olympics.
Sharpe’s contract went into effect on January 1, 2022, and she began training with world-tour athletes beginning on January 16. She is one of eight women cyclists to be chosen from a group of 239 applicants from 62 nations to sign with the developmental team. Other than Jamaica, members of the team represent Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Paraguay, and Namibia.
Commenting on her contract to Television Jamaica Sports, Sharpe said she was elated, excited, and overjoyed to be part of the team. She believes this is a good move for herself and for Jamaican and Caribbean cycling. While Germany will be Sharpe’s base for the term of her contract, the athlete will travel throughout Europe.
Sharpe, 21, attended the University of the West Indies where she pursued a degree in Sports Science. A former track and field athlete at St. Andrew High School, Sharpe first came to national attention as an award-winning triathlete. She won the RJR Gleaner VMBS Youth Award and represented Jamaica as a triathlete at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Canyon-SRAM Generation, the team Sharpe has joined, was established under a WorldTour team program designed to increase diversity and inclusion of players in 2021. Recruitment efforts targeted countries and continents underserved in the sport of cycling, although applications to the team were open to everyone. According to Christine Kalkschmid, diversity and inclusion expert for Canyon-SRAM, the team was overwhelmed with applications from cycling athletes from all continents, all ages, and all backgrounds. In addition to ensuring that promising cyclists had the chance to join the team, the team also had the goal of creating ambassadors for diversity and inclusion.
Sharpe and the other seven riders chosen will race at the UCI Continental level, and while it has strong ties to the WorldTour team, it will compete under its own distinctive jersey and kit.
The eight riders will race at UCI Continental level and will be based in Europe during the season, giving them access to a solid racing program. Though it has strong links to the WorldTour team, Canyon-SRAM Generation will wear its own distinctive jersey.