British Cycling has been accused of “undermining women’s racing” as another domestic race has been cancelled.
Organisers of the Bristol Grand Prix have blamed restrictions placed on the race by the national governing body for the decision to abandon this year’s edition.
The race director, Phil Adkins, said he felt the organisation had undermined the women’s race by planning to introduce a more costly men’s road race, while keeping the women’s race as a circuit.
British Cycling have responded to the cancellation, saying that it had been exploring the possibility of developing a men’s road race format and that the current organisers declined to be involved.
The organisation assured cycling fans racing will still take place on the weekend of the Bristol Grand Prix.
A statement the Bristol Grand Prix organisers said: “As a race, we have found that our objectives and our ethics are irreconcilable with the requirements of the governing body.
“The restrictions that are placed upon the race both undermine women’s racing and prevent us from including youth riders and local riders and clubs being part of the day.
“Additionally as race organisers, we are being forced out of our race due to unfavourable conditions imposed upon us.”
The event was launched in 2015 to introduce circuit racing to the centre of the city, forming part of the British Cycling HSBC UK Grand Prix Series.
Events for riders of all levels were held as part of the day, including a mass participation ride, a women’s Bristol Grand Prix, a men’s category three and four event, and an elite men’s race.
Last summer, the organisers announced that equal prize money would be awarded to men and women for the first time.
This move was aimed to show the event was serious about women’s racing and also in the hopes of hosting a round of the HSBC Women’s Series in 2019.
The event is scheduled to take place on June 16, with a round of the women’s national circuit series, the men’s road series and a mass participation event.
British Cycling said: “In response to feedback from teams and riders regarding last year’s Bristol Grand Prix, British Cycling has been working with Bristol City Council to develop a road race format which would see the round of the HSBC UK National Road Series – men follow a similar route out of Bristol to last year’s Tour of Britain stage in the area.
“Unfortunately – and after much discussion – the organisers of the previous years’ Bristol Grand Prix events have decline to partner with us to deliver this new vision for the race.
“We respect that decision, thank the Bristol Grand Prix organisers for their support and wish them well for the future.”
British Cycling said it is now working with Bristol City Council to hold a women’s circuit race and a men’s road race on June 16, when the 2019 Bristol Grand Prix was due to take place.
The mass participation HSBC UK Let’s Ride festival is also due to take place on the same day.
British Cycling added: “Alongside our valued network of event organisers, we are committed to ensuring that this event – as with all others in our series – is a true showcase for the sport, provides the very best experiences for existing teams, riders and spectators, and engages with local communities, while also continuing to broaden cycling’s appeal in sustainable ways.”
The women’s race last year was won by Ejay Harris from Storey Racing while the men’s went to Matthew Gibson from JLT-Condor.
British racing has been under heavy strain in recent years, even being dubbed “the worst it has ever been.”
Loss of teams like JLT-Condor and One Pro Cycling, along with the cancellation of events like the Chorley Grand Prix, have left many wondering what needs to be done to revive the domestic scene.