When the UCI announced that, after much speculation, there will be a Para-Cycling Track World Championships taking place in 2017, cycling’s governing body must have expected nothing but messages of support from athletes.
However, that wasn’t the case when the announcement was made on Monday evening, with a number of riders taking to Twitter to criticise the timing of the Los Angeles event (March 2 to 5) which will give them just seven weeks to prepare.
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Seven-time Paralympic gold medallist Jody Cundy was among those who took to Twitter to criticise the UCI’s late notice of the event.
That was a sentiment echoed by Neil Fachie, who was irked by the tone of the UCI’s press release that highlighted that this is the “first time in the history of para-cycling that there will be a UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships the year following the Olympic and Paralympic games” (something that isn’t true as there was a World Championships the year after the Beijing Paralympics in 2009)
A number of riders even said that the short notice would mean that they would be unable to take part.
Barney Storey, who has won three Paralympic gold medals as a pilot in tandem events, said that this was part of a wider problem with para-cyclists given very limited chances to compete.
In the press release announcing the event, UCI president Brian Cookson said that he was aware that the late announcement of the event may cause problems, but thanked the U.S. Olympic Committee for organising the event.
“We are conscious that the award of this event comes late in the season for athletes, teams and parties implicated in organising the event.”
Cookson went on to say that the event “will enable our athletes to benefit from an enriched calendar as the discipline continues to develop. We would like to thank the U.S. Olympic Committee for organising this important event in such a short time.”