“We just want a chance to shine in our home county” – that’s the message from Yorkshire’s top women’s team, Jadan-Weldtite, who have not been invited to take part in this year’s Tour de Yorkshire. The team’s manager, Victoria Hood, has questioned whether organisers did their homework when inviting women’s teams, pointing out that until a recent change of heart, another team omitted had been Les Filles for whom the race’s defending champion, Louise Mahe, now rides.
When Mahe won last year’s event, she was riding for Ikon-Mazda but she has since moved and when the teams taking part in the Tour de Yorkshire were initially announced, Les Filles were not included. However, while they have since been added, top Yorkshire team Jadan-Weldtite have not.
Hood spoke with Les Filles’ team manager and told road.cc that it seemed that team had been in a similar situation to her own – “having to go through numerous different people and write numerous emails before they could even get an answer.”
She says she has repeatedly tried to contact organisers to ask if the team could be considered but has received few responses.
“Eventually after sending a very detailed email about the team, what we do and how we work hard to promote women's cycling whilst having a great women's, junior and youth team that all race at a very competitive level both here in the UK and abroad, I received a response which just simply said: 'You are not invited, please enjoy the race'.
“I explained to the organisers that girls on my team have already stood on the podium this season next to girls from teams that have got a place in the Tour. They have also won races against girls that are listed on the start sheet. It seemed to be more about who you know and it seems to me they didn't do their homework when it came to inviting British women's teams.”
Hood believes that having a competitive Yorkshire team involved could only enhance the event.
“We are a Yorkshire team. We have Yorkshire sponsors who embrace and support women's cycling at every level. The Yorkshire press is behind us and we have a great team of girls that would be competitive at the Tour. They wouldn't just be making the numbers up. As we speak, we have two girls racing at the Energiewacht Tour for Great Britain [junior riders, Rhona Callander and Jenny Holl]. We just want a chance to shine in our home county.”
Update: To the team's delight, organisers have since invited Jadan-Weldtite to take part in the race.