New sponsor needed to ensure Women’s CiCLE Classic can go ahead

Sponsor wthdraws in protest at governing body's ruling over transgender cyclist

By Duncan Browne
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 12:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 12:16 pm
Abi Smith won last year's race.
Abi Smith won last year's race.

A new major sponsor is being sought to ensure that the sixth Women’s CiCLE Classic and eighth Junior Men’s edition of the race can go ahead as planned, following the decision of the longstanding backer to withdraw his sponsorship of the races.

Peter Stanton, who was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s CiCLE Classic, and has sponsored the race since its inception in 2016, made the decision 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.

The races – which form part of the British Cycling Women’s National Road Series and Junior Men’s National Road Series – are due to take place on Sunday, June 19, having become integral parts of the national racing calendar over recent years.

Previous winners of the women’s race include Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Katie Archibald and silver medallist Neah Evans, with its unique terrain and challenging course making it a firm favourite in the women’s peloton.

World Tour rider James Shaw is a former winner of the Junior Men’s edition.

CiCLE Classics are working closely with British Cycling to safeguard the 2022 editions of the women’s and junior men’s races, however an extra £15,000 is still required by May 10 to prevent their cancellation.

CiCLE Classics race director, Colin Clews said: “I’m enormously proud of the fact that the Women’s CiCLE Classic and Junior Men’s CiCLE Classic have quickly established themselves as real highlights of the domestic calendar, and we’re determined to find likeminded partners who can help us to deliver the race in 2022 and support its future development.

“Peter has been, and continues to be, massively committed to the development of women’s racing within the UK. His financial contribution to support this aim over the past six years is way beyond that of any other private individual.

“As an organisation we hope that it may be possible to renew our collaboration at some stage in the future to continue our joint pursuit of promoting domestic women’s racing at the highest level.”

CiCLE Classics are at pains to stress that the above does not affect in any way the organisation or running of the 16th Rutland-Melton International Men’s CiCLE Classic on Sunday, April 24.

Mr Stanton said: “The transgender policy adopted by British Cycling had been the result of a full consultation process and was believed to have been working well until last week when it was suspended without any further consultation.

“Whilst fully supportive of women’s sport, I also have many friends and colleagues within the transgender community whom I feel that I would be letting down if I did not make a stand to show my support for their rights.

“This is not the first case of a transgender rider competing under UCI rules, or even as part of an official UCI team, and to arbitrarily change that position based on one individual case, I find totally unacceptable.

“I am desperately saddened by the Emily Bridges case and the actions that it has prompted me to take.

“I sincerely hope that a satisfactory resolution to her case and that of similar cases in the future can be quickly found in the interests of all parties involved, and sport in general.”

Anyone wishing to helps sponsor the event can contact Mr Clews at [email protected] or by calling 07979 85 6262.