A crowdfunding initiative aimed at raising the required £15,000 funding gap for the 2022 Women’s CiCLE Classic left by the withdrawal of sponsorship last week has been launched.
Long-term backer Peter Stanton opted to pull out in protest after cycling’s governing body, the UCI, ruled trans woman cyclist Emily Bridges was ineligible to compete in the women’s British National Omnium Championship.
In response Sex Matters - an organisation whose mission statement is to 'promote clarity about sex in public policy, law and culture' - and Fair Play For Women, a group which 'protects the rights of women and girls in the UK' offered to fun this year's race.
Speaking in advance of the launch race director Colin Clews said: “ We cannot thank enough all those who have given their support to us regarding this issue.
"We wish to particularly thank the joint Sex Matters and the Fair Play for Women offer to make good the shortfall this year from a single source.
"That immediately gave us heart that come what may, the race would continue. We remain eternally grateful for this offer."
Mr Clews added: "Most important to ourselves and for women’s cycling, however, was that we secure the future of the race in the longer term.
"Three years being the minimum. In recent days such an offer has now been received and advanced discussions are continuing regarding a formal contract to commence in 2023.
"That left us with how to deal with the funding of the race in 2022.
"Despite the initial joint offer being attractive, receipt of funds from a single source for one year presents problems to a small organisation such as ourselves.
"A not insignificant cost would be incurred associated with the rebranding of the event on the day which would then be repeated in 2023 as the new contract becomes effective.
"Those costs if avoided could alternatively be used beneficially to further develop the event.
"We are not a large permanent organisation and this issue has taken time and effort that we would have preferred to avoid, especially as we shortly commence our promotional programme on April 24 with our international Men’s race.
"With so many who have contacted us suggesting and indicating their willingness to contribute to the continuation of the race via crowdfunding we believe that is our immediate way forward.
"This also allows for everyone showing support for the race to share in its successful survival and receive acknowledgement for their contributions, large or small.”
The crowdfunding page was formally launched at noon today.
You can find out more or support here.