PRC riders clamped by UCI ruling
Permanent residents will not be able to represent Bermuda in cycling for the foreseeable future following a new ruling from the sport's governing body.
The Union Cycliste International have turned down an application by the Bermuda Bicycling Association to expand the definition of ‘national' to include those with Permanent Resident Certificates.
While non-Bermudians have not been able to compete at a host of international events in the past, such as the Pan Am Games or Commonwealth Games, they had been allowed to take part at the Caribbean Cycling Championships. Something which former residents Garth and Deanna Thomson did impressively on several occasions.
A tightening of the rules by CCC organisers now means non-Bermudians are also excluded from that competition, and with the BBA viewing the Island Games as one step on the path to developing young riders, the likelihood is that they will find their chances of representing the Island disappear altogether.
“We recently advised our members that in selecting a (Island Games) team we will first look at Bermudians, then PRC holders and then all others who fall within the residency requirements of the Island Games Association,” said BBA president Peter Dunne.
“Our plan does not look at Island Games in isolation but as part of a step in the path of development. On the assumption that participation in Island Games cycling is beneficial to those athletes who can represent Bermuda at CCC and beyond then we need to give those individuals the first shot at comprising our team.”
The BBA had been attempting to get the UCI to allow PRC holders to represent the Island. They argued that the definition of national for Bermuda was unfair when the strict citizenship rules that Government enforces, compared to other countries, was taken into account.
Athletes moving to Canada for example can apply to be citizens and compete for their new country after five years.
“This ruling is not a change in the regulations but came out of a request that the BBA made to the Union Cycliste International (UCI),” said Dunne. “Our request sought an expansion of the definition of National to include individuals who hold Permanent Resident Certificates. The UCI's ruling denied this and we are bound by the UCI's regulations. We are currently reviewing the UCI's response with a view to appealing this.”
Another implication from the new ruling is that only Bermudians will be able to call themselves the National Champion, even if they finish behind a ‘non-Bermudian' in the BBA's championship events.
Suggestions that this rather rendered the ‘National Champion' title meaningless were refuted by Dunne, who pointed to a lengthy list of past national champions who were Bermudian.
“If the title ‘national champion' as defined by our international governing body is held by the top national then I don't see how it is meaningless,” said Dunne. “Also, the winner of the 2010 championship road race was Geri Mewett who is Bermudian. Tyler Butterfield, Wayne Scott and Kris Hedges have held this title and they might debate that their winning was meaningless.”
Despite the new ruling, Dunne said no-one should expect to be selected purely on the basis that they were Bermudian, and was confident that non-Bermudian residents would continue to contribute to the sport on the Island.
“It should be clear that the BBA will not select individuals for international representation opportunities just because they are Bermudian,” said Dunne. “All athletes will need to achieve the performance standards set for the competition and will have to be capable of adding to the performance of our team.
“The local cycling scene has benefitted greatly from the participation of many individuals who are not Bermudian and we expect that this will continue to be the case. Recently (former Olympian) Graeme Miller resided in Bermuda and was very involved in racing and junior development. But even with his cycling palmares he could not have gone to Pan Am Games on behalf of Bermuda.”