Forde: Protest, don’t obstruct
PROTEST ALL YOU WANT!
Colin Forde just rather you don’t obstruct those who actually come to ride.
The Barbados Cycling Union public relations officer has taken exception with the 21 cyclists who refused to move off the line in Sunday’s controversial national road race championships for their role in preventing other riders from contesting top spots.
Forde expressed his disgust in a recent interview with NATIONSPORT after the strike action all but negated Brandon Wilkie and Ajani Miller’s chances of winning as the two found themselves caught behind the protesting cyclists.
“I thought it should have never happened,” said Forde of the 21 cyclists’ decision to come to the start line but not contest the race.
“They could have not faced the starter if they were protesting, but in doing that they hindered other riders who weren’t aware of the protest and were caught up in the traffic on the line.
“There have always been protests in whatever field of sports by their memberships, but the way this was done was wrong and it would not have been accepted by sporting organisations,” Forde added.
As if intermittent showers weren’t enough to dampen proceedings, the national road race was thrown into further upheaval when almost of the 46 riders at the start failed to react to the starter in a clear protest against the BCU.
But that action prevented at least three competing riders from keeping pace with the leaders after they had to negotiate their way around the stationary cyclists.
The protest came as an objection to the back and forth changes of dates for the race last month.
The race was originally slated for last Sunday before the BCU rescheduled the national championships to September sometime last month to keep interest in the sport peaking late in the year.
However, the BCU were forced to return to the initial date due to a International Cycling Federation mandate that requires all national road races to be completed within the year’s first 26 races.
The proposed September date would have also clashed with the Youth Commonwealth Games, while creating issues for the BCU in terms of national team selection for three international assignments in August – the Caribbean Junior Road Race, the Pan Am Masters and the Tour of Tobago.
A group of “concerned” cyclists took exception with the changes and asked for a meeting with the BCU via two letters – the last of which they claim wasn’t responded to.
No meeting was ever organised, directly leading to the cyclists’ protest action.
But Forde has since suggested that the riders themselves are to blame for not having their concerns heard, as they have refused to elect a club representative to sit on the BCU executive.
“The cyclists not having a voice is not the fault of the BCU,” said Forde.
“We had a council meeting last week Monday, just before the road race, and nobody was in a position to attend that meeting where they would’ve been able to air their views.
“At the beginning of the year we summoned meetings with all the cyclists so they can voice their concerns about the programme but only three or four riders attended,” said Forde.
The group of cyclists, who call themselves “Cyclists For Change”, are contemplating their next move, while Forde said that they could be subject to disciplinary action.