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HSBC UK to end its sponsorship with British Cycling

British Cycling announced last week that HSBC UK is going to end its sponsorship with the federation following this Olympic Games cycle. In a press statement, HSBC UK has decided to launch a break clause in which was an eight-year partnership agreement because of a shift in UK marketing and partnership priorities.

Julie Harrington, chief executive of British Cycling, said that they will part with HSBC UK as firm friends and meanwhile, look forward to working with them to support their riders to achieve their best in Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The bank and British Cycling started their partnership with in 2016 by an eight-year agreement with one of the targets getting two million people cycling by the end of 2020.

According to a press release, there have been 525,000 people taking part in HSBC UK Go Ride, HSBC UK Breeze, HSBC UK Ready Set Ride, and HSBC UK Let’s Ride in 2019.

In the last two decades, British Cycling was among the most successful cycling countries in the world with great riders including Olympic gold medalists Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny, two former road race world champions Lizzie Deignan and Mark Cavendish, and former Tour de France winners Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, and Geraint Thomas.

However, British Cycling has recently been involved in two on-going and highly-publicized cases at the General Medical Council (GMC) and the employment tribunal. 

Moreover, there have been repeated delays to decide whether former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is fit or not to practice medicine. He accepted 18 of the 22 allegations but disputed the delivery of testosterone to British Cycling HQ and Team Sky that same year.

As a reason for the sponsorship loss, British Cycling did not mention either case. However, it showed clearly that HSBC UK decided to exercise a break clause due to a shift in UK marketing and partnership priorities.

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58% of UK residents support the government to spend more on cycling infrastructure

A new report published today (March 4) by walking and cycling charity Sustrans suggests the bulk of UK residents support efforts to scale back car use and believe that the government should make it as easy as possible for people to cycle.

In the present, road transport accounts for 27% of the greenhouse emission in the UK with the most source being private vehicles.

According to a survey that was conducted on more than 16,900 UK residents, 58% of them agreed that there should be more investment in cycling than driving.

Currently, there are only 50 miles of protected cycle tracks within the UK, as compared, Copenhagen, with a population of 1.3 million has 237 miles of protected cycle tracks.

The survey also revealed that one in two residents agreed with the statement that there are too many of us driving in their area. 59% agreed that reducing road traffic would make their area a far better place to measure and work.

56% of these surveyed were also in support of the thought to charge polluting vehicles to enter the town if the financial proceeds are then wont to fund conveyance, walking, and cycling services.

Director of urbanism at Sustrans Daisy Narayanan said that the climate crisis is the 21st century’s greatest environmental and health challenge.

‘With road transport being one among the main sources of greenhouse gasses and air pollutants, it’s time we end car-centric planning which has shaped our cities and towns for many years and reprioritize our streets towards people.

‘Many cities are taking action to scale back car trips and make it more convenient for people to steer and cycle. Our report shows the general public is supportive of those plans.

‘Ahead of crucial climate talks at COP26 in Glasgow, we urge the united kingdom Government to point out leadership and make a step-change in investment for cycling and walking, including protected cycle lanes, and adopt policies to support more people to modify from driving to walking and cycling for shorter journeys.’

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Can Bjarne Riis turn around 2020 NTT Pro Cycling?

On Wednesday it had been confirmed that 1996 Tour de France champion Bjarne Riis’s Virtu Cycling team has bought a minority share of the NTT Pro Cycling Team, until recently referred to as Dimension Data. During a news conference, Dane Riis said he would be immediately take over managing the team.

NTT Pro Cycling has been around since 2008, and as a South African Pro Continental squad it had been invited to Grand Tours including the Tour de France before it joined the WorldTour in 2016 as Dimension-Data. In spite of the fact that Dimension Data saw some notable Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings, and Edvald Boasson Hagen triumphs from 2016 to 2019, it had remained the lowest-ranked WorldTour team for 3 seasons. In 2019, the team beated out only Katusha, which Israel Start-Up Nation absorbed to hitch the 2020 WorldTour.

At the news conference Riis said, “Together, I think we will take the team to subsequent level and make it a team that everyone – riders and staff – want to be a neighborhood of. This is often a long-term project and therefore the goal is to win big races. I’m excited for the longer term.”

Riis’s professional career ran from 1986 to 2000, the classic EPO Era. Winner of the 1996 Tour over young teammate Jan Ullrich, who would wear yellow in Paris subsequent year, Riis admitted in 2007 that he used EPO, somatotropin and cortisone during the height of his career.

After retirement, he co-owned and managed the ProTour/WorldTour squad CSC, which had Tour de France winners in Carlos Sastre and Andy Schleck. Riis sold his WorldTour license to Oleg Tinkoff in 2012 but soon had found Danish partners to launch Virtu Cycling, a sponsor of men’s and women’s development teams until last season.

Japanese telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone was announced because the incoming title sponsor back in July. The squad remains registered in South Africa and can still work with the Qhubeka charity. Switching from white and green, the team presently dons a kit of a blue somewhere between Movistar and Deceuninck-Quick Step’s fading to black.

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British Cycling announce changes to women’s classifications for 2020

British Cycling have announced new women’s classifications for 2020 to improve the consistency of events on the calendar, after having sought the views of hundreds of female riders to improve the structure of domestic racing.

Changes will come into effect for the 2020 road season, involving the introduction of the same categorisation used in men’s racing.

British Cycling’s cycle sport manager, Lisa Graham, said that recent years have seen strong increases in the amount of women taking up racing, and while they are absolutely delighted with this rise, they recognized the need to ensure that women’s racing environment continued to improve, and that they didn’t rest on their laurels.

“We introduced the Women’s Road Racing Workgroup in autumn 2018 to make sure that the voices of these women were heard, and one of the most consistent feedback themes we received was the need to alter the way women’s races were categorized.

“We are delighted that, after many months of work alongside riders, event organisers and others, we can bring about these changes for the 2020 season, and look forward to working with the Women’s Road Racing Workgroup to continue to bring about positive change.”

Races categorized as National A will be open to senior, elite, and junior first, second and third category riders with a minimum distance of 100km, or 70km per stage in a multi-day race.

National B events will be open to the same riders but with a minimum distance of 80km.

Senior and junior second, third and fourth category riders can enter Regional A races, which must have a minimum distance of 70km.

Regional B races will have a minimum distance of 60km and will be open to senior and junior third and fourth category riders, while Regional C/C+ events are open to all and have no minimum distance.

Ranking points for female riders will be the same as in the men’s model and both genders will be ranked in the same way.