The inaugural Lincoln Sportive is one of three events scratched off the programme for the Festival of Cycling after organisers' legal row

The long-running feud between organisers of sportives in Lincolnshire has led to three events being dropped from the Lincoln Festival of Cycling.

The new Lincoln Sportive has been axed after a dispute between its organiser and that of the Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive. Both sportives were reportedly hosting their events under the Festival of Cycling banner, leading to confusion among potential participants.

Local businessman Dan Ellmore took over the Lincoln Grand Prix and hoped to run a sportive as part of the festival, but ITP Events, organiser of the five-year-old GP Sportive also claimed the right to stage the event on May 14 from Yarborough Leisure Centre.

Following a legal battle, organisers of the festival have said that the Lincoln Criterium, Lincoln Sportive and Lincoln Uphill Dash have been cancelled for 2016.

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Ellmore said in a statement: “The Velo Club Lincoln and the Lincoln Festival of Cycling organisers are left with no other choice despite their unprecedented efforts to reach an agreement with ITP Events regarding the Sportive.”

A further group statement added: “A small amount of the event’s finances were invested in having solicitors and subsequently London Barristers confirm that The Velo Club Lincoln own the rights to the name ‘Lincoln Grand Prix’ which as we are all aware is a 60-year-old event.

“Despite this confirmation ITP Events has continued to promote their event as part of the Festival of Cycling weekend and threaten legal action against us, the organisers.”

But Ian Penrose, director of ITP Events, insists the company never used ‘Festival of Cycling’ in its promotions, telling the Lincolnite: “We’ve run the Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive for the last five years as a separate event, set up as a commercial entity. We’ve put a lot of time and investment into the event.

“The event has huge commercial value and is well regarded in the market. If someone wanted to take it off me that would have been fine.

“What they can’t do however is say ‘you’ve had five years and now we’re going to take it’.”

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He added: “If the situation hadn’t been taken with such a confrontational attitude we could have worked together to make more profit and a better experience for the riders.

“I feel like after last year’s championships there was potential for a huge marketing launch together and a huge benefit to the local economy. Now the opportunity has been totally ruined. I wouldn’t rule out working together in future, but overall negotiations have been bitter.”

  • Sheldon

    Sums up everything you need to know about the majority of sportives. As a cyclist I shall go and watch the Lincoln GP, on the Saturday I will come down to Lincoln go for a ride in the lanes around Lincoln have a few cafe stops and a few beers in Lincoln on the evening. I don’t want at T-Shirt or a timing chip.

  • Michael

    TBH I can’t see any logic or reason to pay someone to cycle on the public road unless those roads have been closed to other traffic perhaps.

    Yeah, I’d pay a reasonable sum to cycle on closed roads.

    Otherwise a sportive is just doing what I do 3 or 4 times a week anyway for free. Except I’m wearing a number and the £20+ fee might get me a stand or two that has water and bananas on it. That’s very expensive for a free banana assuming you actually stop and pick one up.

    Most of the time it would seem like a hassle to get to the start line – do I cycle to the start line? But often if I did that I may as well just cycle straight back home and that’s my day’s cycling done – and it can be a pain realising you still have a long distance to cycle from the “finish” line.

    Or do I drag other people out the house early am to ferry me and the bike to it? Whilst I’m not adverse to cars making this kind of “drive somewhere to ride my bike” journey seems unnecessary and almost perverse.

    Whereas if I just ride a loop from home I’m already there at the start and I’m home when I get to the finish.

  • Michael

    Ironic, it’s too profitable for them to let each other run the event, so instead they all cancel presumably happy so long as they are all losers.

    Didn’t Nash et al study this kind of asinine behaviour?

    I’ve no doubt if they did 3 separate events split through the year that many cyclists would attend all 3 of them.

  • Phil Crow

    I was led to believe firstly that ITP had never submitted safety reports to the Safety Advisory Group and last year the ITP Sportive was almost cancelled because of this. Also, a number of months ago, ITP moved their sportive and renamed it The Michaelgate Sportive to run on the 7 May, allowing The Festival of Cycling to run all its events on the GP weekend…. ITP, for no announced reason, then moved it back again to the 14th. This is not good behavior as entrants would be and probably are very confused: people have to plan days off etc so moving an event 3 times just looks very unorganised.
    Within the statement from Dan Ellmore and The Lincolnite article, we see that ITP, who had originally stated their event was/is run at break even (which I read as no profit) , gave the organisers (Ian Emmerson) £2 per rider to support the Grand Prix allowing them to act as the official sportive to the Lincoln GP. That in itself strikes me that ITP are ultimately paying to use ‘Lincoln Grand Prix’ within its event’s name THERFORE ITP have no legal claim on the event name.
    If the ITP Lincoln GP Sportive is ‘break even’ why cause all this fuss? Why not allow the new Lincoln GP organisers run the event? Why also, ring the Lincoln Velo Club chairman and ask for £20k for them to ‘buy the sportive’
    I imagine that did not go down very well with Lincoln Velo Club BUT Mr Ellmore did actually offer this money to ITP and it was turned down! WHY- It’s what they asked for!!!
    It now transpires ITP have stated in The Lincolnite article that “The event has huge commercial value” and I would now guess that ITP are just being greedy. That is certainly how it looks.
    The whole thing is disgraceful. Being very black and white about it, I do not see how ITP can place any claim of ownership when they have been clearly PAYING for the privilege of being the Lincoln GP Sportive. Management changes and with that so do suppliers. It’s called business. Bullying tactics such as this are wrong and I sincerely hope every cyclist who enters sportives realise and understand that the ITP Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive on 14 May 2016 is in no way affiliated to the Lincoln Grand Prix Elite Race AND that ITP gives no financial support to this premier event.
    In the words of Al Murray, the pub landlord, “Shame on you ITP, Shame on you.”

  • Which all goes to show that Sportives have got more to do with shady business than sporting achievement. About time that riders turned their back on these commercial events and supported events prganised by genuine cycling clubs.

  • “What they can’t do however is say ‘you’ve had five years and now we’re going to take it’.” Well, if there was no agreement between ITP and Velo Club Lincoln and they own the rights to the Lincoln GP and want Dan Ellmore to promote the event then it seems reasonable that Velo Club Lincoln should be able to do so.