by Tommy Campbell
Yes! Thankfully we have survived the Christmas period.
Now we are heading into a new year. The past is the past. We an look to the future with optimism. Caught sight of the racing calendar and the Ras Tailteann is listed. Hope it goes ahead! But it all
depends on a backer. Maybe the organisation behind the event will come up trumps.
Hopefully, we can be spared the bad weather of 2018, which caused a number of postponements. Unfortunately, they never seen the light of day. Happy cycling in the new year whether it be Leisure or Competition.
WILD CARDS : 100% IS THE TARGET FOR MPCC
This year, 89% of the wild cards were granted to MPCC teams.
To make this datavisualization, we took the 37 World Tour cycling races of the year and had a look at the wild cards that were granted on them. Among them, we separated the ones granted to continental professional teams part of the MPCC and those given to the other teams.
There is one figure to highlight : 89% of the wild cards were issued to MPCC teams. As a reminder: on these 37 races, around 3 or 4 teams are invited on stage races, and up to 11 wild cards can be given on the one-day races.
Among the 187 wild cards issued throughout the season, we isolated the ones concerning the 3 grand Tours and the 5 Monuments of the season to observe whether there is a pattern when it comes to the big and powerful organizers.
Here are the results: on two of the grand Tours (Tour de France and Vuelta a España), as well as the two monuments organised by A.S.O. (Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège), all of the Wild Cards were given to MPCC teams.
When it comes to the other grand Tour (Giro d’Italia) and two of the 5 monuments (Milan-Sanremo) organised by R.C.S., there is not as much satisfaction on our part: all of these events had non-MPCC teams starting the race.
Finally, there is a clear trend concerning the World Tour races organised on Belgian soil: all of them are 100% committed to MPCC, which is not the case in France or Germany, even though these are countries very involved in the ethical topics.
MPCC would like to highlight the outstanding commitment from some organisers which fight to strengthen the credibility of our sport. We also would like to lament the behaviour of those which do not wish to go the same way, especially given that their action is essential to the future of cycling. Thus, MPCC requests that all of the wild cards issued in 2019 be granted to teams part of the movement, and encourage teams and federations which are not part of the MPCC to commit to stricter rules.
Putting on a LEISURE EVENT
Writing about a charity cycling event from a promoters point of view. Calling one promoter, is a bit grand, possibly a facilitator may be a better description.
I have had the pleasure (yes) of volunteering on a number of fantastic professional and amateur cycling races and watching with admiration how the real experts operated. This experience helped me a lot at least I knew that there should be a start and finish and that I would need lots of help.
Everything begins with an idea and indeed a need to raise money for the chosen charity.Looking with foolish optism at really successful events gave my team a sense that our charity was so deserving that participants would flock to us. Unfortunately while we had some success and are extremely grateful to those who rode in our event but our hope was that we would have far greater numbers.
We were very lucky that having been a leisure cyclist in my youth and have good friends who still cycle with experience of racing. Without these it would have been impossible to have had the limited success we had.
What will we call it ? , one of our friends suggested Randonne as this was a leisure cycle in France and definitely not a race. We thought that this was excellent, however there was some difficulties as our target cyclists did not know what a Randonne was. This was a mistake as in business you must make it easy for customers, we dropped the name in the third year.
The route has to be decided on, it helps if it is picturesque and not too hilly, bearing in mind this is for leisure cyclists who should be able to enjoy themselves. Not too difficult but challenging. The first year our event was 120Kl, this proved to long for some of the not quite experienced cyclists, we remedied this problem the second year by having two routes within the same event. 55 Kl. & 120 Kl.
Having chosen the route we had to register with Cycling Ireland, this enabled us to avail of their insurance for our registered participants. Cycling Ireland could not have been more helpful they listed us on their events calendar this helped us to publicise our cycle.
The next task was to secure Garda permission not only at the start and finish but from each garda station on the route. They to were very obliging. Pointing out possible accident black spots! We requested that they might help with stewarding but this was not possible due to manpower shortages.
We decided that there should be 3 food and water stops , at 26 Kl. 60 Kl. And a barbecue at the finish.
Fortunately as a charity with good connections we were able to secure donations of most of the food required, thanks due to our most generous donors.
We decided that we should also provide a goodie bag to all who entered, However the contents proved to be somewhat expensive, There was a cycling Jersey or a cycling tee shirt branded for the event. We could only guess at the number of entrants ,therefor we purchased far too many garments. To get good quality and good value we bought from China. This was a substantial investment.
The raffle prizes collected or purchased.
Decide on the cost of entry not too much as it may reduce entrants, the decision was 25 Euros this was too little as it turned out. The value of the food,water,barbecue and goodie bags far exceeded the charge.
Signage had to be designed and printed, a lot required to cover the full route. Again expensive.
Volunteers were the backbone of our event, without them it would have been impossible and I really do mean impossible. Thanks sincerely for all help, definitely no expression of gratitude would be adequate. Their enthusiasm was infective.
Our office in Dublin helped in organising and coordinating the volunteers. Without our wonderful lady there nothing would have happened.
Postering and road marking is a difficult and labour intensive task and must be done on the day before the event and must be removed the day after at the latest. Dangerous bends need flag bearing Stewarts [Volunteers].
Ambulance arranged to drive up and around the route. Thanks to the Order of Malta who do the work for a donation.
Mechanic and Broom Wagon are essential and for us thanks to our volunteers.
Food stops need to be manned or ladied providing sandwiches, cakes, tea/coffee and water, but most of all encouragement. Thanks also to the GAA and local Council.
At the finish we had a barbecue consisting of. Burgers, Hot Dogs, Salads, Tea, Coffee, Cakes etc. Music and a party atmosphere. The raffle took place then.
After the first year it was decided to stagger the start with experienced cyclists going off at 9 AM and leisure Cyclists at 9.30 AM. This worked better.
Barbecue at the finish was lit at 3.30 to accommodate the ones who used the event as a race, mostly vets. Winding up at 6.30 or 7.00pm. Very long day for volunteers who were on site from 7.00 AM , directing parking setting up numerous essential jobs.
Without a budget for advertising its difficult to get numbers. Events have to be glamorous and must participate in to maximise their success, we had no budget to pay a professional cyclist or a Celebrity to attend ,lead it out and help publicise us. We used Facebook and Twitter to the best of our ability and managed to get only up to 200 to start.
To summarise we had great success on social level and the feedback from those who took part was excellent “A good time was had by all” . However financially it did not succeed for us, overall it was cost negative. When you factor in all the volunteer effort and hours its difficult to continue on with it.
Road Cycling in Ireland 2019
As planning is at an advanced stage for next year’s road season it is a good time to reflect on how cycling is run in general across the country. Whilst, not perfect there is a good structure in place that starts with the early season one day events. Here it is evident who has put in a good winter’s training and these events are the early battleground for bigger events to come. On any given weekend there is a race in each province and these normally cater for all categories to give everyone in the sport a chance to compete and race against riders of a similar ability.
Then we move on to the highly regarded Easter and May Bank holiday Stage Races where the first major honours of the season are given out whilst still a lot of riders are finding form for future events as they are fine tuning their training and building on whatever level of form they have. It also gives the club riders a chance to ride a stage race which is almost unique to Ireland and provides a stepping stone for the elite rider’s careers.
The season then returns to provincial action which is normally now peaking but it is from this point onwards that the cracks are appearing in the system and has the potential to bring down everything good we have in place. I am referring to three events here which are the RAS Tailteann, RAS na mBan and the SCOTT CYCLES Junior Tour of Ireland. As everyone knows these events are not on the financial footing that they should be on. They should in reality not only be backed by sponsors but have a guarantee in place from the governing body and the government as they provide the axis by which the whole year turns on. The governing body should also see these events as their trophy events sitting in the International calendar but also providing for the Irish riders which you would think is a perfect mix. Look at the platform it has provided since they have started for future International stars. These events are also the link between the general public and cycling as their names are synonymous with cycling. The events also have their own top race organisation crews in place and do not rely on Cycling Ireland to run the events for them. It is simply financially that they could fall down on.
If any of these events lose their place in the calendar, then it will be almost impossible to return. The RAS Tailteann looks like it could be the first casualty of the three marquee events but i’m sure there are serious negotiations going on with the people involved who have such a passion for the race and like everyone else would be devastated if there was to be no RAS in 2019 and beyond.
Hopefully there will be some good news soon and once back on the road these events might get the financial guarantees they deserve as they move forward into what will hopefully be the roaring twenties for cycling in Ireland.
Out with Eddie
2019 Cycling Ireland Cyclo-Cross Championships – REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
2019 Cycling Ireland Cyclo-Cross Championships, hosted by De Ronde Van Cork CC
Venue: Fota House and Gardens, Cork
Youth: Saturday 12 January 2019
Senior: Sunday 13 January 2019
Registration is now open
Only riders with a 2019 licence can enter.
Registration will close on Sunday Jan 6th