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Governing body responds after video shows two events hitting same stretch of road on Sunday

British Cycling says that sportives need to regulated to avoid issues such as the clash of the route of one such event and a road race that we featured in a video on road.cc this morning.

The governing body points out that while strict regulations surround races held on public roads, the regime is looser when it comes to sportive rides.

On Sunday, riders taking part in the Yorkshire Regional Road Race, an event authorised by police under the Cycle Racing on the Highway regulations and organised in line with what British Cycling describes as its “minimum standards” rounded a corner to discover a sportive heading in the opposite direction.

A spokesperson for British Cycling said: “This video is a perfect illustration of why the lack of any form of calendar co-ordination and regulation around sportives is a serious concern that needs to be urgently addressed.

“Over the last three years, there has been an unprecedented growth in the number of sportives with an almost 200% increase in the number of events that were registered through British Cycling alone.

“We’re asking the government to take action to ensure that cycling events on the public highway are better co-ordinated through an agreed process.

“These measures would aim to reduce the risk of clashes, improve event standards and provide an environment where both competitive and non-competitive events can run in harmony to meet increased demand.”

Both events were listed on the British Cycling website, but the governing body says that the sportive in question, the Cyclothon organised on behalf of the Prince of Wales Hospice in Wetherby, had not been formally registered with it.

“If it had been registered a clash would have been identified in advance of the events taking place and any issues would have been resolved,” it added.

Last year, Surrey County Council said it planned to lobby for regulation of sportives there following a rise in the number of events taking in the county’s roads after it hosted much of the route of the Olympic road races in 2012.

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.

31 comments

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry for my language...BUT

OH FUCK NO....

Do NOT let British Cycling do the regulation. Yes there needs to be some sort of code that sportives all have to be run by, but it should NOT be done by British Cycling, CTC or any other "big" organisation like that.

The reason being. Sportives are where people like myself with "different" bikes can ride along side normal upright riders without separation and being put on short courses and being segregated because we ride different bikes. British Cycling and the CTC both try and do this.

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Al__S [1018 posts] 2 years ago
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Race organiser in the comments states the race had a formal temporary TRO allowing the rolling road closure.

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mrmo [2070 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

Do NOT let British Cycling do the regulation. Yes there needs to be some sort of code that sportives all have to be run by, but it should NOT be done by British Cycling, CTC or any other "big" organisation like that.

I do understand your concerns, but if your going to do this properly and ensure no clashes there need to be as few organisations as possible to ensure that everyone is talking.

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workhard [397 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

Sorry for my language...BUT

OH FUCK NO....

Do NOT let British Cycling do the regulation. Yes there needs to be some sort of code that sportives all have to be run by, but it should NOT be done by British Cycling, CTC or any other "big" organisation like that.

The reason being. Sportives are where people like myself with "different" bikes can ride along side normal upright riders without separation and being put on short courses and being segregated because we ride different bikes. British Cycling and the CTC both try and do this.

even small orgs do that kind of stuff. I've been asked not to do a Club TT on my Brompton or MTB.

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peterben [64 posts] 2 years ago
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Hey that's what this world needs; a little more regulation. The answer is already there for the love of God, they were both on the same British Cycling website!!!

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liverlepool [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Drivers v cyclists, cyclists v pedestrians, horse riders v cyclists/cars, the Daily Mail v everything so why not cyclists against cyclists?

Give me strength...

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crazy-legs [750 posts] 2 years ago
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workhard wrote:

I've been asked not to do a Club TT on my Brompton or MTB.

Probably afraid you'd post a really good time and embarrass all the TTers!  3

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 2 years ago
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Guy deliberatlely riding toward the group, what a fucking cock. Almost as bad as the guy arguing with the marshall "They went through a road closed sign" -"Ahh you've always got an excuse". It's not an excuse it's a road closed sign you dick.

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Sara_H [58 posts] 2 years ago
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Ha ha ha! That video is brilliant, the audio at least.

Were the sheep real or put in for comic effect?

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john.berry [22 posts] 2 years ago
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I am NOT a fan of Sportives, I think people tend to turn them into a race,there is also the I paid my money so I don't need to obey the highway code attitude (by a minority), but what really does worry me is how will any regulation distinguish between Audax and Sportive?

I would hate to see Audax being impacted by the current passing fad of cycling and Sportives.

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Doper [69 posts] 2 years ago
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The guy arguing with the marshal is a complete and utter idiot. I really feel for the marshal having to deal with a nutcase like that.  2

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eddie11 [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Eh?

That is random. How were people riding past the road block. What were the marshals doing wrong? Is the have a go hero sportive rider cliche so true?

They shouldn't have routed them against each other but it shouldn't mattered if the sportive riders had respected the road closure.

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mooseman [87 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Hey that's what this world needs; a little more regulation. The answer is already there for the love of God, they were both on the same British Cycling website!!!

yep, that and a total disregard for common sense.

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Legin [95 posts] 2 years ago
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If the sportive riders hadn't behaved like dicks there wouldn't be a problem to discuss. Little Englanders asserting their "rights"; bankers!

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Wrongfoot [35 posts] 2 years ago
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Obviously for a closed rode race there is a process and race marshals and traffic police have an authority to control all road traffic after the race is approved. The sportive riders and the (shocking) Yorkshireman on the soundtrack were plainly in the wrong. But I'm curious. Under what law would you regulate Sportives? It's not a race, riders have the right to travel where they wish on the road just as drivers do. If a critical mass ride is legal so is a Sportive...

British Cycling is pretty much about racing but many (most?) cyclists are clearly more about participation and recreational cycling. I think we should be careful before asking for extra control of cyclists as road users, if there's a bill passed you can depend that it will have some extra unwelcome curtailment of cyclist freedoms. There's a lot of anti-cycling MPs who would love to seek amendments to a bill and to debate the matter in the house...

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mrmo [2070 posts] 2 years ago
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Wrongfoot wrote:

But I'm curious. Under what law would you regulate Sportives? It's not a race, riders have the right to travel where they wish on the road just as drivers do. If a critical mass ride is legal so is a Sportive...

The question is, are sportives races or not to an external observer.

http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/road-racing-in-england.html

The laws already exist to ban sportives if they are deemed to be racing. In some ways regulation is needed to make sure they don't get banned!

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Rich_N_ [6 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm really not a fan of Sportives - I've done a few an won't do anymore. I raced Road, TT and MTB for a number of years and never found the regulation of the events I rode a pain. Most of the regulation is there to make the event run smooth and safely.

Sportives on the other hand are often treated as unoffical races by many that take part in them. The simple fact that they are timed and riders given that time will encourage many to ride and behave like racers. They do need regulation and they need better policing by marshals and event organisers.

People with attitude like the morons in this video need to be banned from taking part in all cycling events nationally for a period of time. They only serve to bring the sport into disrepute - this time with other bloody cyclists  14

Rich N

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sean1 [175 posts] 2 years ago
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Is this just a knee jerk reaction from British Cycling to cover some embarrassment on their part that this overlap of events occurred.

The New Forest NIMBY's also want tight regulation of sportifs and group rides.

This could quickly get out of hand and you could find your local club run is subject to the same rules and regs, which would be ridiculous but could happen.

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Wrongfoot [35 posts] 2 years ago
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Thanks for the link.

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Gourmet Shot [68 posts] 2 years ago
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'Both events were listed on the British Cycling website'

Rolls eyes.  29

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ColT [287 posts] 2 years ago
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Christ, there are some real selfish, arrogant, ignorant tools riding bikes.

I despair.

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levermonkey [663 posts] 2 years ago
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No-one and I'll repeat that no-one comes out of this well with the obvious exception of the racers. Their riding skills are the only reason that there was not a very serious collision.

The organisers of both events must take the maximum blame as both events would have posted routes. All it would have taken would have been a simple web search. British Cycling stating that even though the sportive was listed on their web site it was not registered means that British Cycling had no way of identifying a potential clash is a bit pathetic. The Cyclothon organisers not informing riders that there was a race in the area is also a bit pathetic.

The marshal out of shot needs to be trained how to speak to members of the public. The problem seams to have been not what the riders were asked to do but how they were asked. I certainly would not have reacted well to being spoken to like that. He very quickly lost control of the situation.

Other questions. If the marshal in the distance and his actions are anything to go by...
1) Why do the marshal's tabards not say "Race Marshal" on them? This would give additional authority to his request.
2) How much warning did he give the riders. As this event was using minimum road closure how late did he leave it to put out his board?

One final question, why are the escort vehicles not more prominently marked as race vehicles?

None of this in any way excises the behaviour of the riders who then rode straight at the racers. The wazzock in the stripes should be tarred & feathered!

I think that we need to see some other footage before we start screaming for legislation or banning sportives.

Sportives have brought a lot of people into cycling. Yes some people treat them like races but mostly your competing against yourself. Sportives are a great way to push yourself without the pressure of racing.

Just as a side note. Why does Sportives come up as a misspelling?  39

And now for some comments from under the bridge!  19

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Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
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British Cycling are using a single brief incident to go for a power grab over non competitive cycling.

I suppose you can't blame them: They have to generate income and a cut of all those sportive entry fees would come in handy for the next UCI election and they call themselves 'British Cycling' when actually they only deal with a very small part of cycling in Britain so must feel quite marginalised and keen to extend their jurisdiction

I don't think regulation is justified by a two minute youtube clip however nor would it do anything but drive people away from cycling by adding yet more costs and red tape

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marche [87 posts] 2 years ago
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White and green and no helmet. This guy is crazy (1:45 minutes)!

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700c [889 posts] 2 years ago
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'regulation' sounds like a scary word, but has the potential for good if done in the right way (that's a big 'if')

Better centralised organisation of sportives would be a start. Then something to ensure proper adherence to the codes that are already out there.

People have been saying for a while that something needs to be done -and not just Surrey county council.

If the public see these events as being chaotic and disruptive then sooner or later regulation will come in - and not in a good way

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OldRidgeback [2616 posts] 2 years ago
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Sara_H wrote:

Ha ha ha! That video is brilliant, the audio at least.

Were the sheep real or put in for comic effect?

I'm convinced the sheep were real. They do add a subtle comic effect.

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Jimmy Ray Will [469 posts] 2 years ago
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I can understand BC's concerns, although I'd also suggest it would be great for them if they took control of Sportives.

Sportives are on borrowed time if you ask me. The level of organisation and safety requirements are shockingly low when compared to that of an average road race.

That should be utterly fine as its not a race... however the brutal reality is that for far too big a minority of sportive riders it is a race... its very much a race. If you listen to conversations on the club runs and cafe, its more often than not called a race.

Hell, the general public call it a race.

It is a bloody race... that somehow gets away with it by adding an extra few hundred riders on at the back who just poodle around.

With that in mind, you can't just let these guys out there running rampage without something going very wrong... and when it does, the repercussions will be felt across the sport.

I think its a great example of the attitude of the stereotypical sportive rider that they didn't stop for the road closure... in fact one made a point and put himself and others at significant risk to actively resist respecting the legal road closure.

I'd love to speak to that stripey man and ask him just what he felt he was doing, and why he felt that he did not have to respect the closure... Would he have been as ballsy if it was an ambulance travelling towards him for instance?

Now... is it that sportives attracts A-holes, or is it more a state of mind created by the perception of what a sportive rider is buying into when entering an event? I think the latter

I can get why a sportive rider might think 'why should I have to wait for them, why is their event more important than mine?'... the answer being that one has an active rolling road closure and one hasn't, but I don't think that would really resonate.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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The vultures are circling, there is no need to "regulate" these events, there is a need however to regulate motorists........oh wait.......

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MartinH [19 posts] 2 years ago
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Northernbike wrote:

I suppose you can't blame them: They have to generate income...

Well, at the end of 2012, they were given £32 million by Sport England to "grow grassroots cycling over the next four years". £8 million a year just for grass roots development. That should tide them over for a bit.

http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/about/article/bc20121217-about-bc-news-...

Whatever you think of sportives, you have to admit that they pretty much fall into the category of 'growth in grass roots cycling'. So BC should be using some of that grant to help them develop, rather than alternately viewing them as either an annoyance or a potential cash-cow, which is pretty much what they have always done. They've had opportunities to guide the growth of sportives in the past, and have wasted them. Some years ago, BC's Everyday Cycling project launched a sportive commission that brought organisers of the biggest events at the time together to discuss the direction of the format. It made some good first steps towards a more structured development arc for sportives until, after the success at the Beijing Olympics, BC decided they didn't need participation cycling any more and scrapped Everyday Cycling, derailing the whole process.

And for BC to complain that this sportive wasn't officially registered with them is pretty rich, when just this year, they have made it harder and more expensive to register sportives with them. They have doubled the cost of their event insurance (while other providers have kept their costs about the same), and introduced new registration fees on top (all in spite of that Sport England windfall). Then they complain that they can't keep track of calendar clashes because organisers aren't registering events with them.

There may be good arguments for, if not regulation then certainly better coordination, but BC shouldn't be allowed near control of the sportive market until they can demonstrate that they are doing so for the good of cycling, rather than to pursue their own agenda.

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TheFog [7 posts] 2 years ago
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British Cycling - regulation? Don't make me laugh!

British Cycling have actively encouraged two major sportives to be run on a significant part of the Tour de France route both of which aspire to have up to 1-2k cyclists on each event the weekend after the Tour! Madness!!

All they are concerned with is sportive organisers registering so they can take a fee for each person signing up and also so public register on BCs website.

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