‘With the current system we’re shafted’ says BC coach Rod Ellingworth regarding the fact that the world’s best roadman sprinter will have a whole two team mates in Melbourne.
The GB and Sky ‘spin machine’ continually tell us how strong British Cycling is; but when it comes down to it, we’re actually joint 22nd in terms of numbers of riders we’re eligible to send to the Elite Worlds.
This puts us on par with great cycling nations such as Korea and Brazil.
Last year we had nine riders on the line at Mendrisio on a course that didn’t suit any GB rider, this year, on a course which suits Cav down to the ground, we have three.
I recall that last year we were told that even though we didn’t get anyone remotely near a medal, ‘it was good to practice team work for the 2010 race.’
As the future has a habit of doing, 2010 has rolled around and we don’t even have a road team — you can’t call three riders ‘a team’ unless it’s for the team sprint on the track.
And the fact is that there isn’t actually much we could have done about it — except for our ProTour riders to get better results – because the system is undoubtedly complex.
I was talking to the Slovenian sprinter Aldo Ilesic, and he told me that whilst his country has nine slots available, only seven can go; he’s excluded because he hasn’t scored points in European or ProTour events — even although he’s had six stage wins in UCU Tours this year.
Ben Swift’s and Russell Downing’s wins don’t count because they are ProTour riders competing in European Tour races — my understanding is that if Sky was a Pro Continental instead of ProTour team then those points would count.
It’s not just GB ‘spin’ that rankles; the UCI’s lemming-like ‘mondialisation’ policy simply makes no sense.
There will be six riders each from Iran, Morocco and Venezuela on the start line, as well as three each from Korea and Brazil.
This is because they have qualified through regional or ‘Continental Tours’ — but no matter how well you ride in the Tour of the Qinghai Lakes or Tour of Guatemala it simply does not bear comparison to European racing.
The UCI wangling these countries into the Worlds will not miraculously turn them into cycling nations and most of these riders will be blown away before the circuit is reached at Geelong.
Cycling has to happen ‘organically’ like it did in the USA; but even there the question is being misunderstood — running the Tour of California at the same time as the Giro just doesn’t make sense.
The debacles that were the ‘Wincanton Classic’ and ‘GP Montreal’ have obviously been forgotten — cycling cannot be ‘imposed’ upon a nation.
And Ellingworth doesn’t mention that ‘we’re shafted’ as regards the U23 or women’s teams because we qualified the maximum number of riders — only the Elite qualification gets ’spun’.
He should just tell the truth; ‘we simply don’t have enough good Elite riders at the moment,’ there’s nothing else to say.
Richard Moore had a different slant on it in a piece in the Guardian on Thursday; ‘First Olympics, now the Worlds — Wiggins spoils it again for Brad.’
I hadn’t thought about it that way; but Brad’s depth charge-like drop down the rankings from 2009 certainly hasn’t helped.
But I do fear that Richard has blown his exclusive interview about “Brad’s new scooter” with that piece, though.
As for the UCI, they should stop messing with nature: it’s a World ‘Elite’ Championship and only the best riders should be allowed to ride; if 18 of them happen to be Italian, 15 Spanish and 12 Belgian — then so be it.