Sharlotte Lucas has announced that she will not be racing for New Zealand at the UCI World Road Championships in Innsbruck this month; despite having launched a successful appeal against her non-selection. Lucas has cited the massive financial pressure placed on her as one of the reasons for withdrawing.
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A cloud hangs over the elite women’s team for the UCI World Road Championships; through no fault of the riders themselves. Georgia Williams has confirmed that she will be ready to compete in the road race, but questions remain as to whether she will receive any support at all. Mikayla Harvey and Grace Anderson are in a state of provisional selection, needing to prove their capability in races in Europe before being officially added to the elite women’s outfit.
Lucas, the reigning Oceania champion and 4th placed rider in the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year, was initially overlooked by Cycling New Zealand but was preparing to launch an appeal; a similar process she had to go through to gain selection for the Commonwealth Games. Lucas told RoadCycling that her appeal was never heard and that Cycling New Zealand changed their minds much later after the team announcement.
In the run up to the team for Innsbruck being announced, Lucas had been training with great focus on being ready for the World Championships. “Training had been great,” Lucas told RoadCycling. “I was in super good form after returning from an overseas racing block. I had committed to training for the world champs in the last 3 months. I did not know any details – I asked Cycling New Zealand questions regarding what I needed to do but they never got back to several emails.”
Training had taken Lucas into the Southern Alps where, she told us, she was able to ride roads that were very comparable to the Innsbruck course; which for the elite women will take in a lumpy start, before four big climbs in the space of 80km on the run in to the finish after 156.2km.
After being accepted onto the team on the grounds of ‘supplementary information’ being provided, Lucas opted to sadly withdraw from the team. Lucas also told RoadCycling that there was no supplementary information provided from her; so what this information was that Cycling New Zealand are referring to is a mystery.
“It is with disappointment that I have pulled out of representing NZ at the World Cycling Championships after having my non selection overturned,” Lucas announced.
“I have many questions to ask of Cycling New Zealand regarding their treatment of myself that dates back to having to appeal my non selection at the Commonwealth Games when I believe I deserved to be named in the first round of guaranteed spots to the NZOC for the team.”
Lucas was not surprised to have had to launch another appeal against her non-selection, but it seems that the revelation that several thousands of dollars would have to be found to make the trip has made the journey to Innsbruck impossible. “When I had to find thousands of dollars in a couple of days it simply was not realistic to accept my selection. It would have been nice to have had a little more time but CNZ stalled for 12 days after I appealed before changing their minds,” Lucas said.
We asked Lucas whether she was aware that she would have to incur the cost of representing New Zealand in Innsbruck and whether it was usual to have to pay her way to represent New Zealand at major international events.
“No. I expected some flight costs but not the amount asked for,” Lucas told us. Lucas also said that it’s not usual to have to pay your own way. “Not at elite level when you are representing your country.”