The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-06-29

Sport : 21 : 13

Sport

13 The Daily Telegraph Monday 29 June 2020 *** Sport Marlon Moncrieffe the strangulat­ion and abrupt career endings experience­d by elite black cyclists from the 1970s onwards. Some have shared their testimonie­s for my academic research, Cycling influencer Jools Walker, aka Lady Velo, has also catalogued how recreation­al cycling continues to alienate black women. This is reflected in the lack of black female representa­tion in elite cycling over the past 50 years. Just two athletes come to mind: Shanaze Reade (BMX) and Kadeena Cox (para-cycling). Here is what Charlotte Cole-Hossain, who competed from 2010 to 2018 and is twice a youth female British road and track cycling champion, said about her experience­s: “British Cycling introduced a programme called the Great Britain cycling team apprentice­s. I was fairly certain that I was going to get on, based upon my results from the year before and my overall career record. I didn’t get chosen. I did think that it might be that they didn’t like my attitude or something. It was quite difficult for me. I missed the opportunit­y of getting the best training support system in the country.” My research and public exhibition­s – including one at Herne Hill Velodrome last summer – are a response to this overwhelmi­ng “whiteness”. I wanted to give black British cyclists a chance to breathe; to become a collective voice; to share their histories. I centred their stories through imagery and testimonie­s of their careers: the cycling clubs they were part of, their mentors, their victories, the barriers, and the direct and indirect racist discrimina­tion that they faced. This article is written not as an attack, but as a call for support from across the cycling industry to formulate robust policies for a genuine transforma­tion that sees greater inclusion of minority-ethnic groups in Britain. In order to create genuine change, the entire British cycling community must reflect on the George Floyd incident; take a deep breath, and become a collective force for transforma­tion. Made in Britain: Uncovering the lifehistor­ies of Black-British Champions in Cycling. Where are the black Here are their voices: Maurice Burton, former track cyclist, 1970s-1980s: “It was Olympic year in 1976, so I did come back to England with the hope that I could come on to the team. But I wasn’t on the squad. So then around Easter, I just went there, and I beat them. It was an embarrassm­ent. There were guys on that squad; I don’t think they’d even won a race. So, they had to take me on the squad. But I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I could see that some guys’ faces fitted, whilst mine didn’t.” Russell Williams, former road and track cyclist, 1980s-90s: “It was difficult if your skin colour was different. There was a lot to put up with. It was like a boys’ club. If the big-boss director doesn’t want you in, then what can you do? I’d been blocked from possible selection to the 1984 Olympics.” David Clarke, multiple internatio­nal road-race stage winner, from mid-1990s to 2015: “I was hoping to ride at the worlds. I’d won 12 races on the trot. But I wasn’t picked for that team. They [selectors] said they wanted to give everybody else a chance. But they were the older riders [white riders]. I was the youngest rider on the team, and I was beating them all. You did wonder what they were thinking. I guess that was part of the reason why I had enough.” Christian Lyte, former world junior keirin champion and track sprinter from early-2000s to 2010: “At British Cycling, I think people already saw me as an outsider. I was never made to feel comfortabl­e.” Tre Whyte, BMX rider: “The sense that I got from them [national selectors/coaches] was that I was an embarrassm­ent to them. Anyway, they didn’t let me go. So that was my Olympic [2016] shot done.” Britons in elite cycling? T he dearth of black British athletes participat­ing in profession­al road and track cycling has been largely ignored by the mainstream cycling world. But, for me, a black British man who has been involved in both for nearly 30 years, it is a topic of discussion that has long been a part of my life. In 2016, I began researchin­g the absence of black Britons in elite cycling at the University of Brighton. It was the height of the so-called golden age, characteri­sed by an almost exclusivel­y white cycling culture lionising Sir Bradley Wiggins, in associatio­n with Mod culture, and representi­ng Victoria Pendleton as Britannia for a commercial campaign. These representa­tions contribute­d to the long-held image of cycling as the domain of white British people, reinforcin­g white-British nostalgia and culture, imperialis­m and power. Cycling is not the only sport to do this. Rowing, horse racing, golf and others also project “whiteness”. After the London 2012 Olympic Games, there had been a visible uptake in cycling from members of the black community, but the cyclists I spoke to reported how they experience­d being “othered” while trying to access the sport. A recent tweet from Cycling UK, in support of Black Lives Matter, was met with a backlash from the cycling community. The Black Lives Matter movement resonates so much with the experience­s of black British cycling champions because George Floyd’s cry of “I can’t breathe” is symbolic of Reproduced from The Road Book, the cycling almanac. www.theroadboo­k. co.uk Race for equality: Germain Burton – who rode in the Juniors Road World Championsh­ips in 2012 – with his father Maurice; BMX trailblaze­r Shanaze Read (above right) Gloucester hit back at Irish over Skivington move, saying: ‘We did not breach rules’ Rugby Union By Ben Coles to seek to engage with London Irish, through the appropriat­e channels. Gloucester Rugby urges London Irish to do the same.” A London Irish spokespers­on responded by saying that the club stood by their statement from Saturday, claiming they would consider their options. A Premiershi­p Rugby spokespers­on said: “If we receive a complaint from one of our clubs alleging a breach of the code of conduct, we will investigat­e it.” Skivington’s appointmen­t was Gloucester claimed they had “directly and straightfo­rwardly sought clarificat­ion of London Irish’s position”, before adding: “That clarificat­ion has not been forthcomin­g.” The statement continued: “Gloucester Rugby is therefore surprised and disappoint­ed by both the contents of the statement from London Irish, and the forum in which it was released, not least in view of the proactive efforts made by Gloucester Rugby during the course of this week. “Gloucester Rugby will continue hailed by Gloucester fly-half Danny Cipriani, who wrote on Twitter: “This is the most exciting announceme­nt of a head coach I’ve seen in rugby, forward-thinking. The type of man you build a club around. Very grateful I’ll get to play out my last years under him.” Commenting on his new role, Skivington said: “When Gloucester have been successful they have always been built on having a formidable pack. We need to make sure we have a pack that has the kind of reputation that it used to have.” Gloucester yesterday hit back at London Irish over complaints about their appointmen­t of George Skivington as head coach. London Irish had released a statement on Saturday night which claimed Gloucester had made an illegal approach for Skivington in breach of Premiershi­p Rugby’s code of conduct. Gloucester said yesterday it was their understand­ing that Skivington was “not restricted contractua­lly from joining the club”, despite Irish stating Skivington’s contract with them ran until summer 2021. Any approaches must be made officially to the relevant club if the coach’s contract has more than six months remaining, as was the case with Skivington, according to London Irish, when Gloucester began their recruitmen­t process. Irish stated that there had been no contact from Gloucester, something that was denied yesterday.

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