Wednesday, 6 November 2013

An Open Letter to the UCI on Paracycling

Dear UCI, on behalf of Paracycling riders everywhere in the world, I am writing this open letter. It is my hope that someone will read it and be able to respond.

First of all, I want to publicly thank all the people that support Paracycling, from the grass roots volunteers, to the race organisers, to National Federations and even those at the UCI that work on our behalf. The work that all of you do is not unnoticed and is greatly appreciated.

However, it has to be said that there is a HUGE gap in the level of support that Paracycling gets from the UCI, especially in relation to all the other disciplines under the UCI umbrella. This is surprising, given that the UCI took over control of Paracycling from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 2007, stating at the time: "The UCI is fully committed to the development of para-cycling and we will provide all of the necessary resources in the years to come."

At the present time we feel this pledge is not being met. There are a serious lack of international race events and in particular, the fact that there has not been a major Track Cycling event once London 2012 is unacceptable. No Track World Championships in 2013, and currently none scheduled for 2014. For those Paracycling athletes that concentrate primarily on track events (and even those that ride both the road and the track), this represents a giant black hole for competition opportunities.

There have been rumours of a Track Cycling World Championships in either March or November 2014, but the longer the uncertainty drags on, the harder it is for athletes to plan their winter training and race schedules for 2014. If the men's or women's Track (or Road) World Championships faced this level of uncertainty or apathy, there would be uproar in the cycling community. But in Paracycing it seems to be the status quo.

We realise that many of the issues surrounding hosting events comes down to money. However, I am calling upon the UCI to reassess their financial requirements for race organisers in the next few years, waving fees if necessary, in order to help fulfil their promise and grow the sport as is needed. London 2012 should have shown the level of support that is available from the fans, given the chance.

There are a wide range of issue in Paracycling that we would like to address but we lack the opportunity. The latest Athletes Commission meeting was shelved and our representative is now unable to pass along any of our comments. We are left to talk amongst ourselves as our frustration grows. The total lack of communication from the UCI regarding events is incredibly upsetting.

So I write this publicly to highlight the most pressing issues. And hope that not only the public will see it, but also the powers that be at the UCI.

I welcome the chance to discuss any and all of these issues with a representative of the UCI at any time. I would gladly hop on a plane to Aigle if I thought the UCI was open to making changes. There are many more people out there like me in the Paracycling community that would do the same.

We hope that we will be heard.

Thank you for your time,
Colin Lynch