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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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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.