Colin Lynch’s open letter to the UCI about Para-Cycling

One of the things I can’t understand about the recent UCI elections, and cycling in general, is how badly the track Para-cyclists are treated.  Once every four years we have the Paralympics, and in Britain there was so much love for the exceptional racing, and much talk about “legacy” – and yet immediately they were over, the UCI and the cycling media ignore the Para-cyclists again.  It seems no matter how hard the Para-cyclists campaign, how politely they ask, no one’s listening, not the UCI, who haven’t had any World Cups or World Championships since before the Paralympics, with none on the calendar for 2014 either, nor national federations, who can put on these events.

Colin Lynch, who races on the road as well as the track – winning the bronze in his category’s ITT at the Para-Cycling Road world Championships – has written a great open letter to the UCI about this.  It includes:

We realise that many of the issues surrounding hosting events comes down to money. However, I am calling up 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.
This is disgraceful, especially as on the UCI’s own Mission Statement page, they have this section, so they know that this is very definitely part of their job:
Involving disabled people

  • Paracycling has been fully integrated into the UCI as a discipline in its own right, and World Championships and a World Cup are organised every year.
Please read this letter, talk about it on social media and pass it on to anyone you can think of, especially if you know any journalists or people with cycling power – and if you’re a member of a Federation, please contact them to ask them what they are doing to support track Para-cyclists, both in your own country and in terms of advocacy with the UCI.
Track Para-cycling, as we see at the Paralympics, is fast and exciting and dynamic and a lot of fun to watch.  If you’d like to see some yourself, and are close enough, the only international Para-cycling event since the Paralympics is on in Newport, Wales (with excellent train links to London, the north and the south-west) from 29th November-1st December.  Tickets are free for the day session and just £5 for the evenings – buy them here, and join me in cheering on the fantastic athletes.

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