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Why will Team GB not be represented at the European Road Championships?

Joe Robinson
3 Aug 2017

We wonder why Team GB will be absent from this weekend's European Championships in Denmark

When the elite men and women take to the start line of the European Road Championships this weekend in Herning, Denmark, there will be a notable absence.

Team GB will not be sending a team for both the men's and women's elite races, only providing a team for the women's under-23 race.

With all other major European nations being represented, it does beg the question as to why Great Britain will not be sending teams?

Last year's mens title was taken by Slovakian Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). The two-time World Champion managed to out-sprint the like of Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Daniel Moreno (Movistar) to win the inaugural elite mens event.
The calibre of names represented on the podium shows the level of rider the event managed to attract.

For a first outing, the European Championships seemed a success.

Despite this, Team GB will not be sending elite teams for the second year in a row. Instead, Team GB will be working towards the bigger goal of Tokyo 2020, in three years time.

Bigger Fish to Fry 

When we asked British Cycling why there would be no elite teams at European Championships, they gave a pretty clear answer.

'We have not sent a team of elite male and elite female riders to the UEC European Road Championships this year as it doesn't feature within our Tokyo strategy as it stands at the moment.'

With the medal success of British Cycling at the past three Olympics, little criticism can be cast over their approach. There tactic of focusing solely on the Olympics, whilst controversial, has been successful. 

To direct resources into this weekend's racing in Denmark would purely be a waste of time in British Cycling's eyes. Regardless of the glory the win could bestow on any potential winner, it simply is not important enough for Team GB. 

Team GB are more than happy to let the likes of Spain, France and Belgium battle it out for the prize resting easy in the knowledge that they can dominate every four years at the Olympics.

Too big for their boots? 

Is the lack of Team GB representation at this year's European Championships complacent? 

Britain is one of the biggest and most powerful cycling nations worldwide and to not send teams to a major race leaves a sour taste. 

The disregard for the competition seems cocky, as if British Cycling is almost above the race. The winning riders get to enjoy a year in the European Championships jersey, and Team GB is denying its riders of this opportunity. 

This Sunday's course will most likely end in bunch kicks for both the women and men. Although sprinter Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is injured, this could have been a perfect opportunity for a rider like Daniel McLay (Fortuneo-Oscaro) to prove his sprinting talents.

Likewise, Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) would have had an excellent chance of victory in the women's race. However, neither will be given the chance due to the decision of their national governing body.  

The show goes on 

With the European Championship jersey not being visible in the men's peloton over the past year, the significance of this race may be lost. 

Peter Sagan has worn his rainbow World Champion bands for the previous 12 months, and therefore, the white, blue and gold has not been given the publicity it was expecting. With Sagan not present Sunday, a new rider will be given the chance to adorn the jersey.

Whoever wins in Denmark will wear the jersey for the next year with pride and so should they. It is just disappointing knowing that the rider on the top step of the podium will not be British.

Regardless, the race will go on and Britain's absence will hopefully go unmissed.   

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