You've probably heard by now that Jenny Copnall has been left out of the British Team for Fort William in September.
Jenny Copnall is the four-time (three-time consecutive) Elite National XC Champ, four-time NPS Champ and is Britain's best senior elite female racer. She is also a consummate professional and a great ambassador for the sport and for female cycle-sport in particular through her work with Sporting Champions amongst others.
But despite British Cycling (BC) as the home nation's National Governing Body (NGB)having the right to field 7 female places in the elite women's field at the World Championships in Fort William later this year they have opted to field zero. Absolutely nil. BC will, however, be taking under 23 and junior racers:
Under-23 Women - Amy Hunt
Junior Women - Annie Last, Annabel Simpson, Amy Thompson
The selection criteria can be found here. Crucially, it says that selection is 'targeting podium and top ten performances.' The cut of it is that neither Jenny nor Ruth McGavigan (Scottish National Champ) are capable of taking a top five result in a world class field.
However, the major issue - besides the non-selection of our national champ to race on home soil, which is an emotive one more than anything else - is that the lack of elite female places puts in serious jeopardy places for British female elite racers at the Beijng Olympics, with knock-on effects for the long term development of racers for 2012.
This is a serious issue if under 23 rising talent Amy Hunt does rise through the ranks to be a true contender at the elite levels then she will be being handicapped - through no fault of her own - by lacking any Olympic experience at Beijing for when she would be in her prime at the 2012 Games.
I just hope that between now and the World Champs, British Cycling will come to their senses...
If you want your voice heard on this issue you can contact British Cycling at firstname.lastname@example.org