British Cycling has appointed a new road racing task force in a bid to rejuvenate the UK domestic scene.
This year, the calendars of both the men’s and women’s National Road Series, the highest standard of racing in the UK, were reduced by two events. The cut backs came as two of the country’s most prominent domestic teams, Ribble Weldtite and AT85 Pro Cycling, collapsed.
The new task force will meet for a period of three months and put forward recommendations for the 2024 season onwards. The group, chaired by three-time Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy, will consider the domestic calendar, challenges facing teams and ways to boost the profile of races.
Alongside Clancy, the task force includes riders Monica Greenwood and Jo Tindley, Great Britain Cycling Team sports director John Herety, Brother UK managing director Phil Jones, M2 Sports co-owner Steve Fry, race organiser Chris Lawrence and Rapha marketing manager Jess Morgan.
In a statement shared by British Cycling, CEO Jon Dutton said the task force "won’t be a talking shop" and promised "immediate progress".
"Our new task force is an example of how we want to bring people closer to the organisation and work collaboratively towards solutions against the challenging and complex environment that we operate in," Dutton said.
"This won’t be a talking shop – the task force will be meeting regularly over the coming months with a view to providing our team with clear recommendations to implement. While we are clearly working within challenging financial parameters, and some changes will naturally take us longer to enact, there are a number of areas where we can and will make immediate progress."
One of the biggest issues facing the scene has been a lack of sponsorship, compounded by the financial effects of the Covid pandemic.
There have been logistical challenges for race organisers, too. The Manx International was cut from the National Road Series this year due to a "roadworks issue", organiser Richard Fletcher told Cycling Weekly earlier this year.
It was a similar case for the Stockton Grand Prix, of which the riverside location is being heavily redeveloped.
Dutton continued: "The health of domestic elite road racing has a significant impact on the overall financial health of our organisation, and our ability to support more events and programmes across our range of disciplines in the future.
"While the past few years have been challenging, I’m optimistic about our ability to turn the tide and forge a sustainable roadmap for the future."
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