Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bike Tennis……

Do I look like a tennis ball. Do I?
A shuttlecock maybe, but not a tennis ball….
(Although I do bounce a bit when I run)…

Fifteen love, I feel like I’ve just been though a bit of a baseline rally between 2 of the biggest bulls-hitters on the Tour of Britain circuit.

Inspired by Wonko’s whithering witterings, the CEP blog and Toque’s tortuous campaign of terrier like attrition, I thought I’d shove my penny-farthing’s worth in on the bike race debacle that is the Tour of Britain

As others had asked them the questions that cannot be answered, namely why no team England in the race when there are Teams from Wales and Scotland, why is the ‘Sport England’ organisation financing a race that does not include a Team England, etc, etc….. I thought I’d try a different tack – and have a go at the soft underbelly of the hard-nosed Tour of Britain leviathan. One of a concerned father, wanting to go and see the race with my kids and wanting to support an England team. (I’m welling up all ready)….

I write my first ‘ace’ email….

I've just had a look the riders and the teams competing in the Tour of Britain. I've a few observations.

1) I notice that there is no 'England' team in the line up. I'm from England - so are my wife and kids, we may even go and have a look at the race but the fact there is no England team worries me. Who do we support - don't WE deserve to be represented then? Where on earth is Team England?

I notice there is also a Wales, Scotland and Ireland team..... plus a Great Britain team.... but no England. Why? I'm beginning to think that this may be yet another smack in the face for my country. I want to support MY Country - but cannot because MY Country is not there - even though the race is happening primarily on MY Country's soil.

If I were Welsh, Scots or Irish then there doesn't appear to be a problem. Hard luck then if you're English, we'll just have to support the 'Recycle team or the GBR team - is that correct?

2) Also, not one of the riders in the lists appear to come from England. In fact it seems to have disappeared from view on your web site. Tell me, does England exist in the world of cycling - or is it a bit of an embarrassment?

3) Can you confirm that all the riders currently described as coming from GBR in the Great Britain and Recycling teams in fact come from England - and if they do, can you please amend the lists accordingly.

Can you please get back to me as soon as possible with some answers. I just do not understand why not only is there no England team - but the mere fact that none of the riders appear to be described as coming from England either just seems so utterly pathetically petty.

The last time I looked, England was a country in its own right, just like Wales, Scotland and Ireland.... But it appears you have disenfranchised 85% of the UK population - can you suggest which team myself and my family should support?

The guys from the Office of Truth, Tour of Britain HQ got back to me nearly as quick as it took me to read all 3 volumes of Lord of the Rings…

Thank you for your query regarding an English team in the race.

We have to follow the guidelines and rules set down by the UCI, (the international governing body) and British Cycling which, in this case, preclude the England team from participating in the race.

If you have any concerns you might wish to contact British Cycling and relay your query to them and ask them to pass it on to the England Team.

I have, in this email, included the quote from British Cycling to a previous enquiry which can be found in Cycling Weekly: August Edition, which runs as follows:

"The teams represent each federation - there's no English federation, so no team".
Hope this answers your concern.

Well, it bloody doesn’t chummy boy. I return the rather feeble cross-court volley with a wicked top-spin lob to the backhand….


Thank you for your email reply. Unfortunately, you didn't answer my other query - which concerned the reason for the nationality of the riders being so very specific on the team lists - apart from those that come from England.

Welsh, Scots and Irish riders - along with everyone else are so described as coming from their respective nations - but not so those that come from 'England'....

They are described as coming from 'GBR"
Not having an England Team is one thing - to deny someone's nationality because of a petty governmental agenda is another.

Can someone please get back to me as to why these English riders from the Recycling and GB Teams are not described as coming from England. It has nothing to do with Cycling Federations at all where someone comes from - nationality is a matter of politics and geography.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Oh dear, they’ve dropped their serve. They’ve dinked their volley straight into the net….

If they are described to us as GBR then that is the description we use, you really need to contact British Cycling to have your query answered. I can only advise you that it is by following the guidelines and rules that enable us to have the Tour in this country. As you have such a strong concern with those guidelines it seems that you need to talk directly to them and I have included their website, telephone number and email with this message.

0870 871 2000

Kind regards

I banged off an email to British Cycling, which was much the same as the one I sent to the Tour of Britain goons.

Did they answer? No way. This is what I received from a Mr Philip Ingham…
Thanks for your email - please can you identify your motivation behind asking the question - in particular, do you represent any political grouping and what is your current involvement in cycling.

I feel like a McEnroe tantrum is coming on. I just cannot believe it!!! It’s the pits of the World isn’t it?

What a bloody cheek, he’s obviously a bit freaked out. He sounds a bit hunted, a bit stressed, sort of…..

I calmed down and assured him that I was Jimmy Ordinary – which of course, I am!

He replied – " (Regarding the competitor names and their country identifiers)…..the answer is that I don't know. The listing should actually refer to all home nation riders as GBR (their nationality according to the world governing body). To support that, there's at least one Welsh rider I can see in the GB team who is down correctly as GBR. Think it's probably an admin error on the team sheet and that, I'm afraid, is a Tour of Britain organiser's issue - so back to them if you need a further reply.

Interesting that isn’t it? Mr Ingham seems to think that it’s all a matter of an error in the Admin’ department. Now do I not believe that….. I’m just amazed that he thinks I’m dumb enough to swallow such a whopper.

I’ve banged off another letter to the main ‘Spokes-Person’ at Tour of Britain, Bike HQ….. Just got time to get the Trainer on to give me a quick rub down – and read War and Peace before they get back to me…….


Toque said...


wonkotsane said...

So BCF are screening email now? I like it!