British Cycling issued a press release in support of the Highclere Castle Victor Ludorum sportive having advised organisers to remove prizes awarded according to riders? times – crossing the narrow dividing line between leisure ride and race.

The event, due to take place this Sunday (June 8), listed on its website awards such as ?male cyclist that achieves the most minutes gained under the gold standard from all age categories?. These have now been removed.

Organiser Kenneth Robson said: ?I have done what BC have asked me to do. We did not present prizes to the fastest riders but in recognition of individual best efforts against gold standard times. We have run the event in exactly the same way for the last three years.?

Andy Cook, events manager at BC?s Everyday Cycling, said that the awards were like a veterans standard prize in a time trial. ?That is a race, obviously. We told him that two months ago,? he said.

British Cycling would have removed its support from the event and the organiser?s insurance been invalidated had the prizes not been removed.

It seems that not everyone is clear what separates a race from a sportive, but BC?s regulations for organisers of non-competitive and leisure rides state: ?The awarding of prizes cannot be given on merit.?

The regulations also state: ?The only ?result? that shall be issued shall be a list of riders who have completed the route within the specified time. Organisers must not publish a list of riders by finishing times or indicate the order in which riders finished. The appropriate format is alphabetical name order.?

The Victor Ludorum Points Challenge remains, as the team award is based more on number of participants from clubs than times recorded.

Robson currently has 850 entrants for the three distances of 70, 120 and 200km starting from Highclere Castle, Berkshire on Sunday, and entries close at 6pm today (Thursday).