British time trial champion Hayley Simmonds has blasted British Cycling over their handling of the Rio Olympics selection, describing their failure to notify her personally of her omission from the squad as “unprofessional and disrespectful”.
Simmonds won her second successive national time trial title in Stockton on Thursday but won’t be competing at Rio, with Emma Pooley instead chosen to ride Britain’s sole time trial spot.
Following on from Dani King’s comments about her not securing a spot in the women’s road race team, Simmonds said that “given my own experience and from what has been written in the press in the past weeks and months, I find it hard to believe that any athlete not on one of BC’s programmes can have any faith in being given fair opportunity to utilise their talent at an international level, irrespective of how many National Championships they win, and by what margin.”
She said she knew about being on the longest for the Games since October 2015 and since then has had “a lot of contact from auxiliary staff within the organisation covering a range of Olympic pre-requisites (ranging from logistics to extra anti-doping education).
“[But] what has been sorely lacking has been any reliable contact with relevant members of British Cycling coaching or performance staff.
“Never has this been more apparent than in the last two weeks (the period when we knew the selection would be made) and nobody at British Cycling has made any attempt to contact me officially, or otherwise, to inform me of my non-selection.
“It is very hard to communicate just how heartbreaking it is to find out you are not going to the Olympics from a combination of leaked newspaper articles, conversations at the Nationals HQ and today’s public announcement on the internet.
“I can’t think of any possible justification for an organisation to operate in such an unprofessional and disrespectful manner.”
Simmonds has dominated the British time trailing scene in the previous two years, winning the 10, 25, 50 and 100-mile RTTC National Championships events at least once, to go alongside her British Cycling time trial crowns. She also rode the time trial at the World Championships last October and in support of Lizzie Armitstead in her road race win.