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British Embassy in Rome still has riders' passports from Giro d'Italia visa applications...

Team Colombia has been forced to pull out of the Tour of Turkey, which starts tomorrow, saying that it cannot travel because the British Embassy in Rome still has its riders’ passports. The documents had been submitted earlier this month as part of its application for visas for the Giro d’Italia Big Start in Northern Ireland in a fortnight’s time.

As we reported yesterday, two separate batches of visa applications were made, one on 10 April, the other on 14 April, with the team paying extra to have them fast-tracked, and the process expected to take five days.

However, the UCI Professional Continental team’s press officer, David Evangalista, told road.cc today: “Regretfully, Team Colombia will not be able to start at the Tour of Turkey tomorrow, as the team officially announced to the race organisation yesterday.

“In spite of the utter availability and co-operation by Tour of Turkey’s director, Ahmet Ozgan, who was ready to reschedule our travel until the last second, the UK Embassy did not give the team a chance to get back in possession of the riders’ passports in time, so Team Colombia had no other chance than withdrawing.”

“Actually, the UK Embassy gave the team no real information about where the passports are, when they are going to be returned and why they are being withheld well more than the predicted five days (due to urgency procedure).”

With the Giro d’Italia starting in Belfast on Friday 9 May, the clock is now ticking for the visas to be secured and passports returned in time for the team to depart for Northern Ireland.

road.cc contacted the British Embassy in Rome for a statement yesterday but phone calls went unanswered and we received no reply to an email.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

12 comments

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Leviathan [1784 posts] 1 year ago
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Farce, Shame. What are they doing there, making Ferrero Rocher pyramids?

Perhaps a British individual who is high up in the administration of World cycling could say something?

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cidermart [486 posts] 1 year ago
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Why haven't they got two passports as international sportsmen I know plenty of people who have two, they travel extensively for work and their passports are held up regularly by embassies awaiting visas? Sounds like poor planning as well as dicks in the embassy.

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Mart [110 posts] 1 year ago
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Why wait to apply for visas until the last minute? I would have thought the team would have started the process some time ago.
you should never rely on bureaucracy to be a speedy process.
Hope it gets sorted soon.

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jova54 [644 posts] 1 year ago
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Mart wrote:

Why wait to apply for visas until the last minute? I would have thought the team would have started the process some time ago.
you should never rely on bureaucracy to be a speedy process.
Hope it gets sorted soon.

I've thought this too and the only answer I can come up with is that as they often don't know who's riding which event until a couple of weeks before, the cost of getting visas for the whole team for every event would be prohibitive and they basically take a flier.

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Rupert [188 posts] 1 year ago
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A nice little rest for them then  36 24 It might mean they are fresher and stronger for the Giro. Every cloud has a silver lining  4

CIDERMART
I never knew you could have two passports. That does seem like the way most sports people should go.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 1 year ago
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Does anyone even take the Tour of Turkey seriously anymore?
Its a sham - nobody cares about it because its a dopers paradise and some Turkish fella is just going to win it anyway and get banned a few weeks later.
Its a bitter aftertaste from the McQuaid era and the sooner it is dropped the better.

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cidermart [486 posts] 1 year ago
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As long as you have a valid reason as to why you should have two a lot of countries allow it. A fair amount of business travellers do so I don't see the problem with international sportsmen.

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allez neg [497 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm desperately trying to work up some form of Bernard Matthews joke about "withdrawing from turkey" but I'm struggling

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ficklewhippet [59 posts] 1 year ago
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How about 'the Colombians will have to go cold turkey' or some such?

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brackley88 [135 posts] 1 year ago
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This is a disgrace. I emailed the consulate in Rome to share my views. Perhaps others might like to.

info.consulate [at] fco.gov.uk

Indicate that it is for the Consulate in Rome in the email heading.

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WashoutWheeler [29 posts] 1 year ago
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How is a chap supposed to enjoy Embassy life with cycle teams badgering him about passports & visa's these things are dealt with at a gentleman's pace?

Pass the Campari and Olives someone. Now whats for luncheon?

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CanAmSteve [245 posts] 1 year ago
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The UK is very unusual in allowing citizens two passports. Some countries can issue a temporary passport document while the "main" passport is unavailable, but this is usually of limited use (OK for local travel without any visa requirements, for example).

In this case, it appears the UK have held onto the passports and not provided visas, so the riders cannot legally enter the UK to do the tour even if they had other passports available.

All part of the new UKIP-sponsored Far Right crackdown on the hordes of pro bikers sneaking into the UK. Must be stopped at any cost. I read it in the Daily Mail in large type, so it must be true  1