Elcock shocked at being left off team
YET ANOTHER CYCLIST has teed off on the beleagured Keith Yearwood administration.
Add Russell Elcock to the ever-growing list of disgruntled riders, as the national time trial record holder is at odds with the Barbados Cycling Union (BCU) for being left off a four-man team heading to next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Elcock expressed utter disbelief at the decision just hours after defending his time trial title on Sunday – the latest victory in an unbeaten stretch on the road that has spanned almost a year.
“It is very demotivating that you could train so hard, win every race on the road from since the latter half of last year until now, win three Caribbean Championship gold medals for Barbados and still not get picked,” said a visibly upset Elcock.
“I should’ve been picked easily to compete in both road events but they chose instead to take four men who will be mainly focusing on the track.”
Barbados have been allocated four spots for cyclists at the Games, one of which is supposed to be reserved for a road rider to contest both the time trial and road race events in Scotland.
Elcock’s contention is that the team of Darren Matthews, Javed Mounter, Jamol Eastmond and Jesse Kelly is geared solely towards performing on the track.
However, BCU public relations officer Wayne Robinson has argued otherwise, stating that the overseas-based Matthews – widely regarded as the country’s best road rider – has been designated as the country’s road specialist despite his prowess on the track.
“Let’s be serious. If you have to choose a road rider then it would have to be Darren Matthews, and could you imagine us giving a team to the Barbados Olympic Association that didn’t have him on it after they put him in the elite athlete category,” said Robinson.
“But people need to get this thing about road and track out of their heads and think just pure endurance racing. Darren does endurance events on the track and rides on the road and it may be time that Russell starts to do the same.”
Elcock dismissed the notion that he is intentionally avoiding the track though, revealing his reasons are purely financial as he can’t afford to buy track equipment.
According to the former Queen’s College student, he actually contested track events in the past, and twice narrowly missed out on setting a new national record in the individual pursuit.
But when he approached the BCU on acquiring a track bike the executive turned him down on two separate occasions.
“The BCU is not in the habit of buying bikes for people in fear of setting a bad precedent, and the only time we gave a bike to anyone it was when one was donated to us for Javed Mounter to use,” explained Robinson.
Non-selection is not his only grouse though, as the time trial champ revealed he dealt with some dismissive remarks during a recent meeting with the BCU over his non-selection.
“When I asked about selection criteria, a member of the BCU basically said I had no right to question what they do, which would suggest to me the BCU believes it is above the scrutiny of its own riders,” said Elcock.
“This just isn’t right in terms of fostering good relations with their riders and eventually I will have to explore my options overseas when I am finished my management studies at UWI.
“But this won’t stop me from racing as I will continue to ride and train,” he added.
Last Sunday’s time trial event suffered from a huge boycott over concerns about the safety of the course, and that was after several veteran riders called for the BCU executive to resign in light of the sport’s plaguing issues.