British Cycling lauds ‘year of success’

Medal winning cyclists, increase in members and rising Sky Ride attendance praised
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British Cycling is on track to deliver on targets set by Sport England and UK Sport, the organisation revealed at its National Council meet.

British Cycling acknowledged a positive year for the organisation and, in a nod to its past, carried motions to recognise the historic role played by the two bodies – the British League of Racing Cyclists and the National Cyclist’ Union – that came together in 1959 to create the organisation.

“It has been another year of success across all areas of activity, from the many medal winning performances of our elite athletes, to the 200,000 people who took part in Sky Ride events, and the healthy increase in British Cycling member numbers,” enthused Ian Drake, British Cycling chief executive.

“Indeed we are on track to deliver on all of targets set by Sport England and UK Sport which is indicative of the tireless commitment to the cause from everyone involved in our sport.”

The North West Region saw the greatest regional increase in British Cycling membership, with 567 members added to the ranks over the last year.

The Meeting saw the re-election of Brian Cookson OBE as president for 12 months, and Charlie Jackson, Tony Berry and Bill Owen re-elected to the Board for three years. Don Povall, Steve Parsons, John Crawford, Peter Biddle, Tim Knight, Steve Jones, Ian Hirst, Kelvin Hoy and Kevan Sturgeon were added to the Appeals Boards.

The meeting saw debates over the issue of Road and Circuit Race categorisation and license thresholds for fourth category riders through to Elites.

British Cycling President Brian Cookson said: "At the conclusion of our 50th anniversary celebrations, I think it is fitting to acknowledge our heritage. The history of British Cycling, through the National Cyclists' Union, goes back to 1878 and the very beginnings of cycling as a sport and pastime, and we can't forget that. In the early years heroes such as Leon Meredith achieved amazing things and the focus of that organisation became very much around track racing, leading on to the exploits of greats such as Reg Harris.

“Meanwhile, road racing was growing throughout Europe and the rest of the world, and the British League of Racing Cyclists (BLRC) was formed in 1942 to fight for the re-introduction of this branch of our sport in Great Britain. In a way that is perhaps hard for us to understand today, the founders of the BLRC had to overcome strong opposition at the time, in a battle that was at times so bitter that feelings still burn strong even today. That they succeeded in their fight shows in the balance of our sport today, where road racing is the most popular discipline and where British riders are today making the breakthrough at the very highest levels in more significant numbers than ever before.

“So the British Cycling of today is indeed very happy to acknowledge the roles played by all of those people who worked so hard for our sport and who achieved so much, over all those years, right back to 1878. And now, in celebrating our heritage and acknowledging the battles and achievements of the past, our task is to build on the strong foundations given us by our predecessors and look forward to the next 50 years and beyond. I hope and believe that we will be worthy of them.”

There's more on British Cycling's 50th anniversary here.

Pic credit British Cycling (Larry Hickmott)

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