Cycling Australia has reversed a decision to fill only five of its seven spaces in the women’s road race at the Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway after an appeal by the two riders who missed out.
Chloe Hosking and Rachel Neylan were initially not selected for the squad as Cycling Australia decided that the team would have a greater chance of winning the rainbow jersey with a team of five riders rather than with a team of seven riders.
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After missing out on selection, Neylan and Hosking, who is Australia’s highest ranked rider in the UCI World Rankings, appealed to the independent Selection Review Panel, who upheld their appeals and ordered the Cycling Australia selectors to reconsider their decision.
The selectors then met on Wednesday night, deciding to include Neylan and Hosking in the squad, alongside the five riders initially selected in Gracie Elvin, Katrin Garfoot, Shara Gillow, Sarah Roy and Amanda Spratt.
Cycling Australia high performance director Simon Jones, who justified the initial decision as “performance first” and “prioritising quality over quantity”, said that everyone’s attention now needed to focus on delivering results in Bergen.
Watch: UCI Road World Championships essential guide
“With the Worlds starting this week, and with the athletes in mind, I want us to move forward quickly and focus on the bike racing,” Jones said.
“I take this opportunity to welcome Chloe and Rachel to the team. I’m also looking forward to sitting down and meeting the team face to face in Bergen and discussing my vision, ideas and plans for the future.”
The decision comes towards the end of a rocky week for women’s cycling in Australia, which has also seen Cycling Australia inform riders and staff that it would be ending its funding of the women’s Orica-Scott team (as well as the men’s under-23 Mitchelton-Scott development team) for the 2018 season.
However the future of both teams have been secured by investment from Gerry Ryan, a businessman who founded the GreenEdge Cycling and is a former president of Cycling Australia.
“Our women’s team are one of our shining lights this year,” Ryan said. “They are delivering top results in the biggest races, Annemiek van Vleuten currently ranks number one in the world and riders like Sarah Roy have really stepped up this season.
“The same can be said for our young Continental team. In the first year of operation, they are really stepping up to the plate and showing us their potential for not only now, but in the future.
“The decision of others is out of our hands but we believe they deserve our support, and a lot more.”