BRITISH TEAM GET EXTRA PLACES FOR U23 WORLDS ROAD RACE
GREAT BRITAIN will have three riders in the under-23 road race at the World Championships after all.
Initially Britain were allocated just one place for Stuttgart and named Ben Swift as the lone rider.
But behind the scenes British Cycling has lodged an appeal to the UCI, believing that there had been an error in the season’s under-23 rankings.
The UCI double-checked the rankings and found that two nations had allocated too many points for under-23 national championship road races that were held as part of their elite men’s national championship races.
This lifted Britain higher up the rankings and opened the door to a further two places, which have been given to Ian Stannard and Jonny Bellis (pictured).
British Cycling’s Dave Brailsford said: “We felt that the initial ranking didn’t reflect our overall performance at under-23 level this season. We asked the UCI to have a look at the rankings and they discovered a couple of anomalies that, once corrected, gave us two extra places.
“We don’t want to criticise the UCI because it wasn’t their error initially. The UCI were very positive in their willingness to look at the rankings again.”
Academy coach Rod Ellingworth said: “It’s a real boost to have a couple of extra places. We were very disappointed when we were only given one place. I still stand by the decision not to go all around the world chasing ranking points. That’s not what the academy base in Italy is all about, it’s about giving riders experience of living and racing abroad. Italy is a hard place to earn UCI points and perhaps if we had gone to every event we’d have qualified more places more easily but to do that we may as well be based in Manchester and fly in and out.
“Now we are able to pick Ian, who will also ride the time trial, and Jonny alongside Ben and give it a real good go. We haven’t got a couple of extra riders to do any work in the early stages but those three are the three who would be there at the end so we’re not at a major disadvantage. The strategy will be to sit tight until two laps to go, by which time all the major teams will be down to three or four in the front group anyway.”
Ellingworth said that although there were two more places on offer, they resisted the temptation to pick Geraint Thomas who, it is felt, needs a rest after a hard season. “We could pick him and he’d give it everything but it’s not fair to ask him to do that after the season he’s had.”