British Cycling. Something is deeply, deeply wrong with an organisation which purports to uphold the best interests of our sport and then refuses to send the four-times national champion to the Worlds in her own country. Thankfully, they relented - or at least we hope they have, because the list of 'additional' riders still hasn't been announced, and we don't know who will have been 'allowed' to go.
To cut a long, convoluted and really bloody depressing story short, their sole purpose as an organisation is to grab as many Olympic medals for Team GB as possible. Medals mean funding (via the National Lottery/Sport England), presumably for more medals (and salaries). Therefore, anyone who does not stand a chance at podiuming stays home...
What would be a better use of all that lottery money, a couple of brassy coins on a ribbon every four years or the opportunity to inspire people to ride, by 'just' participating?
A solution? Get the suits out on a bike. Not an elitist track bike, or an unattractive road bike, but a mountain bike of the sort found in (maybe) every third shed in the country. Send them to a Merida, or a Gorrick, or a 24. Let them see and ride with real people, who live nowhere near a velodrome or an iconic hill climb but do have woods or the park just down their road and for whom participation is what matters, not winning. Riders who don't stand a chance of ever seeing the world from the top of a podium but are still out there every weekend, getting fitter and happier as a consequence, as a by-product of joining in.
Spend my share of the lottery money (and all of my licence fee) on that, please, British Cycling.
(BC licence 707895)