After the furore created by its decision not to select any elite women to compete in the XC event at next month’s Mtb and Trials World Championship in Fort William, it seems that British Cycling has had a change of heart. This afternoon the organisation announced that additional riders would be competing in Scotland.
“Following discussions with members, Mountain Bike event organisers and stake-holders in the Fort William World Championships, British Cycling is to extend the number of British riders who will compete at the event in September,” a statement released today said.
British Cycling’s Performance Director Dave Brailsford, added: “We have listened to the many members who have got in touch with us over this issue, plus Mountain Bike race organisers and the Trade. The groundswell of opinion from them was that the Fort William World Championships is a unique event, a unique opportunity to cheer on the leading home riders and that they would like to see a broader participation-based selection than our strict performance-based policy would allow.
“The next step was to discuss the practicalities with UK Sport, who have funded the event extensively, but who also assess our performances. It has been agreed, as a one-off, that we can select additional riders free from the performance-related goals which normally govern GB Team selection in Olympic disciplines. We recognise the unique opportunity a ‘home’ World Championships represents for the sport.
“As a result, an additional number of riders will be funded by British Cycling to represent GB at the event. Full details will be released after next week’s Mountain Bike Commission meeting.”
Mr Brailsford’s comments are being seen as a precursor to an announcement that British Cycling will take up at least some of the allocation of seven Elite Women’s XC slots which its host nation status allows.