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November 18, 2017
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  • David Liou

    Maybe you should wait for the outcome before writing an article which may lead to those not in the know (including myself) casting any doubt over the teams. Perhaps you get off on trying to snipe people, and if so apologies for disrupting the enjoyment you may be getting out of this.

    • Dave

      At the least, a more neutral title would be appropriate … “Oppy record breakers alleged to have broken rules”

      • jules

        the other day we were calling for Strava syringes on suspicion of amateur segment doping, now we’re all “wait, don’t say anything negative until we’re absolutely sure it’s proven they were guilty”.

        we can’t make fun of the Spanish and Italians if we protect our own the same way. let it all hang out I say.

        • Dave

          Okay then.

          Look for my upcoming piece “Jules eats babies, follows Kim Kardashian on Twitter and votes for Trump.”

          • jules

            I can’t wait!

          • Neil

            It’s about the standard of your comments on Sky

            • Michele

              Yeah, but Neil, there’s def proof that Sky are on the juice. ?

              Don’t you go on social media?

      • Trevor Junge

        You miss the point, if a secret control points out that the rules appear to have been broken, why shoot the messenger. Craig is merely reporting on a team that has broken a record that is now being questioned on it’s validity.
        As a previous Oppy shield winner l can tell you this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Being able to have rolling support rather then prearranged control points changes the whole nature of this event & thumbs it’s nose at Audax history.
        I wonder how much further we could’ve come to breaking the endorphins record in our 2013 attempt if we didn’t accumulate over an hour or more of stopping, eating & re-supplying.

        • Barry white

          Where did it say they had rolling support?? Am i missing something here? Looking at some of the Strava files it show’s the guys team had nearly 1hr 30mins stopping time. Probably had stopped to get there Rapha pic’s right i guess? I wonder how much further they could’ve gone with rolling support…

          • Trevor Junge

            Like Team Five Abreast had a video of i mean. I don’t know what happened, its all chatter. It’s up to Audax or Team Brevet to tell us what happened. My point is if you had rolling support or any unscheduled support, how much advantage does it give a team. It changes the whole event if rules are broken

          • Mad Panda

            Yep. There is a reference to rolling support and footage of same…

        • Dave

          Has a secret control detected a breach? You don’t know and neither do I.

          So far, all we’ve got to go on is speculation. Until it is confirmed either way, it should be reported as being an unconfirmed allegation.

          The women’s team is a bit more obvious.

  • Gooda

    Is it just me, or does this article read a bit like it’s suggesting the teams in question are guilty. There’s plenty of chatter around the traps about why Team Brevet made an unscheduled stop for safety reasons due to kangaroos bounding across the road around them as the sun rose, so it’s not like that’s being kept a secret and hence could/should have made it into the article for people to consider. Just a thought.

    • Baz

      Also just my opinion and I’m sure I’ll get shut down for saying but lets keep in mind there were sponsored by Rapha, Of course there is going to be a little bad publicity for this awesome effort (before any of the dust has settled ) as the CT site doesn’t push that brand anymore.
      Like I said just an observation

      • Dave

        The involvement of the piece’s writer in the team which held the record until a couple of weeks ago is a much larger conflict of interest.

        • Nicholas Skewes

          The author was not in the Endorphins team who held the 770 record.

          • Derek McKean

            Nic and I know that much!

        • Michele

          What record was that?

    • Push Bike Writer

      On the question of whether the teams deliberately broke the rules to gain an advantage I was quite clear. I said that possibility “is difficult to entertain seriously given the profiles and reputations at stake in each team.” I can’t believe that these teams with their high profile elite riders would risk that, and I said so.

      Unscheduled stops for any reason are not against the event rules.

    • Michele

      TBH – I didn’t read it that way.

  • alexroseinnes

    So this is the quote from the Audax Google Groups page from the Australian President:

    “As a matter of respect for those involved and respect for the processes the RO should be informed if any issues are to be raised. Pls forward any information to Peter Makin.


    Wouldn’t it be great if Cyclingtips had shown all involved the same respect and courtesy rather than publishing an ill-informed conjecture piece. Rules may or may not have been broken, but this just amounts to rank speculation and gossip.

    Click-baitey? Sure. Ethical? Nope.

    • jules

      nah, it’s a legit news piece. Craig doesn’t draw conclusions, which it would appear could easily be drawn from the linked video.

      Craig also holds the previous record. If I were him, I’d be pretty annoyed at the organisers waiving the rules in this case, so as not to make a fuss. It may sound harsh but the onus is squarely on competitors to follow the rules. taking a relaxed approach to that is a major reason why cycling has suffered for so long..

      I do feel for all competitors – past and recent. what an effort. even being DQ’d wouldn’t take much away from them in my book.

      • alexroseinnes

        There is no proof of the men’s team breaking the rules aside from a few tweets and unsubstantiated forum posts. Was the video from the event? We don’t even know if they’ve been disqualified! And to conflate this with cycling’s chequered past is a huge Tristan-sized leap.

        “Craig doesn’t draw conclusions”


        • jules

          sorry but if you’re going to administer an official event, you’ve got to do it properly. the media have a valid role in ensuring that is done. it is relevant to the lessons of cycling’s past – unwritten agreements about it being better not to make a fuss don’t help in the long term. let the cards fall as they may. that’s what sport is supposed to be.

          • alexroseinnes

            Burn that straw man Jules, I’m not advocating for the truth to be buried. I simply said that due process should be followed. Proper journalistic standards require that allegations be substantiated, and titling a post “Oppy record breakers to be disqualified for breaking the rules?” completely blows any sense of impartiality out of the window. This blog jumped the gun.

            • Push Bike Writer

              The title I submitted was: “Alleged rule breaches cast doubt on Team Brevet and Five Abreast Oppy 24-hr TTT records.” I’m no headline writer, and the Editors make the decisions about article titles. The title it ran with is indeed the question Audax members and others are asking about this years event. It is a difficult question to ask, and everyone involved would rather it was not an issue – but that is no justification for ignoring questions already raised publicly.

        • Michele

          Was the video from the event?


          • alexroseinnes

            By all means, keep at it with your pitchfork Michele. Defending cycling’s honour; one gossipy, vindictive post at a time. I knew it wouldn’t take long for the CT apologists to come out. Gotta make sure you make “comment of the week”.

            • Michele

              I am looking forward to my Comment of the Week nomination; something to hang my hat on.

              But to answer your question; the video was from the event.
              It took me all of 5 mins to confirm this; from non-CT sources too. It’s a little disingenuous on your behalf [something you accuse the writer of doing] trying to suggest otherwise.

              Can I ask you a question: do you have a vested interest in this story? A mate of yours in one of the teams mentioned in the piece?

              I don’t. And to be honest reading this article didn’t sway me one way or the other on whether they “cheated” or not. I didn’t read the article as if it was a prosecutor making their closing statement in a trial.

              The article, I thought, was balanced. Perhaps I might feel otherwise if I was emotionally connected to the story.

              Do I agree with everything CT writes or have done? Nope. Guess I’m sorry I’m not an apologist.

              • Abdu

                I do like your sense of humour though, and your posts have things like facts and knowledge. Donesn’t mean I agree with you though..

      • Push Bike Writer

        My team doesn’t hold the previous record. But I have made no secret of my interest in the Oppy event – a link is provided in this piece to the CT stories I wrote about past attempts.

        I agree Jules. Even if the records are not officially recognised it may not matter much to how we’d assess the team’s stunning efforts – and I said as much in this article.

        But the questions around rule interpretation (either way) certainly do matter for future Oppy events, for record aspirants and all the other teams too. It is the key point I had in mind with this article, and it would be shame if that gets lost because it is uncomfortable to discuss allegations of rule breaches.

  • half man half sprocket

    It will be massively disappointing to Australian cycling, the Oppy and particularly the teams if the disqualifications occur due to the teams making breaches based on safety concerns. Surely Audax would have the common sense to recognise that any breaches for safety would in fact slow the teams. This event could surely do with some good publicity.

    • Push Bike Writer

      Agreed if safety issues are involved, and in that case let the event rules reflect that. In fact if there is any room for interpretation in the Oppy24hr rules let that be clarified by Audax Australia too – so that the situation is fair for all entrants, record attempting teams or otherwise.

    • H20

      Sorry, what do any stops for “safety concerns” have to do with the possibility that the rules against being fed by a support car may have been breached?

    • Durian Rider

      ‘safey concerns’??? lol!

      riding your bike for 24 hours on a bag full of stims aint exactly safe.

      the nature of competitive 24hr races means you load up and go hard. Stopping for a kangaroo invasion is hilarious. All of these riders are heavily experienced. What next? ‘We had to make a stop because jimmy has a major kangaroo fur allergy…’.

      All these riders did an epic ride AND if one wants an epic ride to be acknowledged by the tradition of Audax then they CAN’T have outside assistance or random stops when they want.

      Do I see aero bars on a few bikes here? When are aero bars allowed in Audax events?

      When I did my Oppy TT in 2003 we were banned from using aero bars. I sure would have loved to use them though!

  • Shannon Duggan

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the author Craig Fry was part of team Pane e Acqua who were the previous record setters in 2014. I feel a severe conflict of interest in the article as Craig is emotionally attached to this situation. The absolute lack of firm facts and sensationalist conjecture is simply imflammatory and seems very personally motivated. Without knowing all the details we should all wait for the outcome of the appeals before casting judgement or even an opinion. The Audax online trolls have been going hard at it enough and the absolute subjective nature of the rules and the interpretation make it easy for haters to hate. Let’s face it these teams cycled more in one go than most of us could imagine. Regardless of records or not it was a tremendous effort by both teams.

    • jules

      I picked up on that too – mostly as it’s stated at the bottom of the article.

    • Nicholas Skewes

      The author was not in the Endorphins team who set the previous record of 770.

    • Baz

      True on inflammatory, but do keep in mind these articles are not going to win Pulitzer Prize, but great click bait and creates discussion via this thread.
      Boring stuff really.

      • Michele

        Well, if that’s the sole objective of the piece, it sucked you in and got you to comment.

  • Chocqua

    wasn’t the team name Four Abreast? (not five) – small point but still…

  • matt

    Craig how does it reflect poorly on Audax to undergo due process when a complaint that has not been substantiated is made? I would have thought that it reflects well on them that they wait to get all the facts before making a decision?
    I also think that having a follow car on country roads throughout the night would just be common sense from a saftety point of view.

    • Mr Bailey

      No car needed for night riding. LED lights front and rear and wear reflective vests, or wouldn’t that look PRO enough? Would it ruin their Rapha-style?

      Drug cheats, motor in the seat-post cheats, hold the car door cheats, support car in an Audax ride cheats. Cycling’s credibility isn’t getting better, it’s now worse than ever.

      • jules

        no one should be labeling them cheats (at least, not yet). there are questions, that’s all and they need answers.

        • Dave

          Of course they are cheats, let it all hang out I say.

          • Hi Dave… My name is Norm Douglas. Unlike many I don’t hide behind screen names.
            I was the driver of the support vehicle for the “Four abreast” team.
            Now that the decision has been upheld to DQ the girls I feel I can now respond to your claim that they are “cheats”.
            Not only is this claim by you entirely hurtful, but it’s also so factually wrong… that I’ll attempt to educate you.
            How did you arrive at such a conclusion that they are “cheats”?
            Did you for example know that the team was riding in the manner that they had pre-arranged with the event organisers?
            Do you know that never at any time did the team try and hide the fact that we were going to ride in the manner they did?
            Did you stop to think that if we were trying to “cheat” that we probably wouldn’t have POSTED A VIDEO TO FACEBOOK?
            Do you know that when we went to the SECRET control that we discussed with the person there about how I was following them… and hence don’t you think I would have tried to hide it if we were trying to “cheat”.
            Do you think that after we had finished that Audax still didn’t raise any issues with the team and proceeded to “award” them their result?
            Do you ever stop to think about how your words might affect someone who is already emotionally distraught over this situation… and that rude obnoxious keyboard warriors like you might just have a real and PHYSICAL effect on someone’s mental health!
            You see…”Dave”… I’m not the type to just let this type of thing lie…. here’s my email address at the bottom, I welcome you to contact me to offer a verbal apology that you can then offer here publicly.

            • Saeba R.

              Dave was joking.

      • matt

        Unfortunately rapha kit doesn’t yet protect against things such as wildlife, tired truckies, road hazards or the fatigue of riding for 24hrs. All of these could lead to accidents and if it were me I’d prefer the piece of mind knowing that in the event of an emergency I had a bit more backup than just 4 other ridiculously fatigued blokes. Even if they are wearing Rapha.

    • Push Bike Writer

      Matt, public allegations have been made about rules breaches by two teams who rode new record distances. One of the allegations was from an Audax office holder. The other was made in response to video evidence posted publicly which appears to show event rules being breached. I asked Audax officials to simply confirm what the situation was re DQ or not, because the story was already public and already under discussion. Due process is of course the right course of action, but in my view they also have a responsibility to be transparent about where things are at – they can do that without getting into details or disrupting that process.

      • jules

        agreed. completely defensible position.

  • Baz

    Why on earth wouldn’t they let this stand, one reason was they had a follow car. For Safety!
    Why hell is this against the rules, it’s utter bullshit! It’s not Oppy era, its the 21st century! But to write the article before any of the dust has settled is in poor form, Don’t try to sensationalise what is still in debate. As it becomes Herald Sun reading, and no one wants that.

    • Hamish Moffatt

      It’s the handing the food on the move that’s at issue.

    • Daniel

      If people cant have respect for Audax rules which started to be drawn up over 100 years ago then don’t enter their events. Hopefully there is so more rule changes because for me, ex-olympians and world champions doesn’t fit into my definition of what Audax is supposed to be about.

      • Baz

        Really? The event is a combination between Audux and Oppy 24 organisers. They all did it last year with no issue, but now that they smash a record everyone is up in arms about it. And if we really want to get into the detail of Oppy doing his 24 hour rides, he had Bruce Small his promoter follow him in a car. I don’t see how using a follow car and stopping because of kangaroos for safety reasons is an issue. Then having a bite to eat whilst waiting to get going again is a rule breaker. What a sad world we live in
        Anyway let’s all WAIT until the hearing on the case.

        • Si

          The line has to be drawn somewhere. Audax is an organization/club for amateur riders doing long distance (mostly) self-supported rides with well published rules. The difference between a brevet and a sportive is the self-reliance – carry your own sustenance (or buy/beg/borrow/steal it en route), carry your own spares and tools etc, rather than having support do it for you.

          Having a car follow you might be against the rules, it is for PBP wjhere IIRC support cars are NOT allowed to take the same route as the riders so as to avoid issues like the one being discussed. Stopping for kangaroos is not against the rules. Eating while waiting for the ‘roos to go away is not against the rules. Eating food from the car following you while waiting for the ‘roos to go away (or for any other reason) is against the well published rules.

          • Durian Rider

            Ive cycled solo from Tip of Cape York to Perth and seen my share of herds of roos. The notion that you have to ‘sit and wait out the roo infestation’ is sheer nonsense haha!

            Roo’s don’t travel that far to feed so you have to simply ride thru that section of road till you are clear of the ‘its raining roo’s mate!’ segment.

  • roddders

    Another record attempt failed by people who I guess thought it would be easy. Along with the Bruce Berkeley hoax this isn’t a good year for records!

  • Berne Shaw

    Folks the one groups own person posts to Facebook a video showing moving support during the attempt. This is clear evidence of a rule breach as no moving support of any kind is allowed. The casualness of the conversation from the car to the riders also suggests this is a normative event i.e. They all consider this acceptable mundane behavior and did it repeatedly throughout the event.

    • Jim

      Wonder if they read the rule-book ?

  • Michael

    As somebody who rode the Oppy myself this year, it was pretty blatant that a lot of teams didn’t adhere to the rules strictly. Best e.g. reflectors and reflective vests are mandatory as per Audax night riding rules. – Glancing around bikes at the end of the event I saw plenty without rear reflectors, and from some of the night photos I saw certainly not everybody was using reflective vests. At the very least, I don’t think a Rapha Brevet vest counts as reflective. As for the support car thing, I can safely say a lot of the teams had close following support cars.

    So what do we make of this? I personally was as unhappy as anybody else trying to fit a rear reflector to my aero seatpost (hint: solution involves electrical tape and zip ties) and finding a reflective vest that wouldn’t ruin any attempt at aerodynamics I was making. There is a reason for a lot of these rules, but for other I’ll be the first to say the follow car rule is unreasonable.

    Support cars that are following close are a safety measure I honestly believe, and as much as the spirit of Audax is solo competition, the speed of cars on country roads at night these days is just dangerous. These drivers were awesome to us riders in all fairness, but I honestly doubt a 1/2 watt LED is going to do very much to alert a sleepy driver at that time barrelling along at 110.

    What I’m essentially saying is that safety needs to be a number one priority, and if that means rules need to change, and follow cars are passing bottles then so be it. These records are going to attract increasingly high profile riders, and will continue to become more competitive. Which team has a bigger advantage, one with TT bikes under current regulations (with reflectors and all), or a team with four regular riders, maybe a set of aero wheels, and a follow car?

    • Push Bike Writer

      Fair points Michael, thank you. I too hope there is some reflection, and perhaps a review by Audax Australia of the rules and regulations around events like the Oppy which are attracting record attempts. The latter part of my article has tried to highlight some of these concerns.

    • Nicholas Skewes

      Spare a thought for the riders 23 years ago who did follow all the rules. Maybe make it like the one hour record.

      • Push Bike Writer

        I am glad you found this Nicholas, and I hope the other members of The Endorphins see it too.

      • Saeba R.

        Nicholas mate just for interest how did you find out the rules in those pre-internet days?

    • Neuron1

      A following support car add aerodynamic advantage as long as it is closer than 100 meters. The rules could be changed to allow such vehicles provided the car remains greater than a specified distance. (This rule would also be a great addition to the pro peloton.) The car can then provide safety without actual riding benefit. The car should never be allowed alongside or in front of the riders. They should then require that the entire attempt be recorded and submitted for possible review by judges at a later time. If there are any gaps in recording, the team’s attempt would be voided.

  • Jon Thornton

    This is a really sad situation – sad for the riders who performed so well and sad for Audax who now has to decide whether the new records should stand. I hope it plays out well.

  • Andrew Gordon

    Hearsay and conjecture rather than substantiated facts to support the title and an obvious conflict of interest with the author. Coupled with the somewhat negative preview article by the same author, this is disingenuous and sub-standard editorial. Disappointing in many respects CT. :-(

  • Neuron1

    Everybody cheats!

  • Where is that sour grapes emoji for Mr Fry….

  • Gavin Adkins

    I think everyone’s missing the real point here which is that taking the title of Brunswick Cycling Club champion is as prestigious as a World or Olympic title (at least in rowing). We all knew that was the case, but I’m glad CT has finally confirmed it.

  • Fletch

    The Oppy rules aren’t that complex. I’ve done the event seven or eight times and I’ve never heard of a team using support between controls before or even needing a support car to follow them along the road. The ethos is one of self-sufficiency. It’s a bit hard to believe people couldn’t ride 60km or 80km at night without support. Everyone else manages it and has done for decades.

    Calling the Oppy a 24-hour team time trial is inaccurate, it isn’t that by a long shot. It’s a tour in the spirit of Fleche Velocio. It’s also misses the point. Sure there are records for the furthest distance ridden, but it’s a bit like winning Around the Bay in a Day. It’s an impressive effort – but what you think you just won wasn’t a race.

    And speaking of rules, what might be more of a problem for the men’s team is that they don’t seem to have had their brevet cards signed at the controls. That’s more of an oversight than grabbing the odd snack from a support car. But in the end, I doubt anyone will care all that much.

    • Corsa

      Found this rule interesting:
      (c)A team must consist of 3, 4 or 5 bicycles, irrespective of the number of riders.

      especially after reading this:
      “At this first stop some of us changed to time-trial bikes” in Craig Fry’s 2015 report.


      • Shannon Duggan

        Hilarious Craig’s own admission of breaking the rules. Hmmm wonder if they were disqualified?

        • Saeba R.

          So what. It has no bearing on the story.

          I guess most sports journalists should resign given they previously competed in the sport they commentate on?

    • Saeba R.


      I’m very interested to know from your perspective how likely you think it is that the team was purely just ignorant of the rules?

  • half man half sprocket

    A quote from the Audax constitution
    Clause 2p; “promote the health and safety of riders, officials and other individuals participating in Audax Cycling in any capacity”

    • Hamish Moffatt

      What’s your point?

      • half man half sprocket

        Do the rules related to The Oppy in fact breach the Audax constitution?

        • Hamish Moffatt

          Not in any way that’s obvious from your extract above.

          • half man half sprocket

            Would you not find it difficult to defend having a small group of riders riding all night on dark country roads, without a following vehicle, as ‘promoting the health and safety of riders’? On the very same weekend as the Oppy a group of cyclists were hit by a car, following the riders crashing into a kangaroo, on a road in Shepparton. Arguably with a following vehicle, traveling at the same speed as the cyclists, there would have been a better outcome.

            Personally I find the rules of the Oppy quite alarming in terms of the safety of the riders in this day and age. Have these rules now become antiquated with time due to the changing nature of country road safety? Do these rules now breach their own constitution?

            Will it take the death of an Oppy rider for common sense to prevail? I hope not.

            • Hamish Moffatt

              I should know better than to argue with anonymous strangers on the internet.

  • Cam

    No disrespect to those involved, but is this story really worthy of such detailed analysis.

  • half man half sprocket

    Ha Ha good point

  • CLS

    If it’s proven either team broke the Audax rules then they should be disqualified. However I do not think it diminishes the effort to ride so many kms in a 24 hour period. Oppy record or not, it’s still a pretty amazing feat of mental and physical strength and endurance.

  • Abdu

    Well that’s awkward.

    Craig writes a good piece but is castigated for (shock horror) talking about it. In no other aspect of life does that occur, I mean no police incident is ever reported on until it goes to trial etc. Oh wait…?

    Some (like me) will laugh at the effort Rapha goes to in copying all of the old school aspects of cycling, seeming to take themselves so seriously, then this happens..

    On a different matter, the assistance is prevented from “(b) a shopkeeper, local resident, passer-by or other disinterested person”.

    Disinterested person…?

    • I suspect “disinterested” here means “someone without an interest in the event”, i.e. someone not involved in the event in any capacity. But yes, awkward phrasing.

  • Abdu

    I’m tipping Rapha would not have entered if they couldn’t milk it for the marketing…all those wasted opportunities for slow mo clips, thousand yard stares, dripping with sweat or rain…

  • Gem Atkinson

    sorry, but a support car for the route?…. that aint audax.
    Call it a 24 hour ttt record or whatever, but drop the ‘audax’, because full support is anything but the spirit of audax.

    • Gem Atkinson

      and thats not to diminish from their achievement, incredible indeed… just not true audax.

      • Except in this situation the event organisers endorsed it.

  • Who would have thought donuts could cause so much trouble?

  • Now that the decision has been upheld to DQ the team… I’m the driver of the support vehicle of team four abreast and the husband of Jessica Douglas who was one of the riders.
    Something that baffles me reading so many of these comments is this.
    If you really think they were trying to “cheat” or gain an advantage or break the rules… do you really think we would have posted a video to Facebook showing us “cheating”? Seriously? I mean really… seriously?
    Did any of you who’ve labelled the girls as cheats… did you ever stop to think that maybe they were riding in a manner that had been FULLY endorsed by the event organiser. Did you stop to think that we clarified the “rules” numerous times… and made it very very clear to them that we WOULD in fact have a support vehicle.
    Perhaps I could suggest to many of you “experts” that maybe you should cool your heels until you know the facts of a topic…
    Team four abreast never at any time tried to circumvent the rules… never at any time did we try and ride in a manner that was contrary to the manner in which we were led to believe we were allowed to.
    Audax has truly missed a great opportunity here to own up to stuffing this up. Sadly I doubt they’ll get any “modern” teams entering their events again.
    This was an opportunity for Audax to move into the modern day and to own up to their own shortcomings in their own rules and interpretations.

    • David Killick

      Of course it’s all the fault of Audax Australia. Hundreds of riders over dozens of years had no trouble at all in following the rules, which are pretty simple and abundantly clear. There’s no stuff up here.

      “No personal support of any kind (including a follow car) is permitted on the course. Personal support is only allowed at controls if agreed by the organiser. Any rider deemed to have received personal support may be disqualified.”

      • Actually riders from previous years have also not followed the rules… however that’s not what I’m saying.
        Perhaps you didn’t read my whole comment… here’s the bit that is pertinent in case you missed it.
        “Did you stop to think that we clarified the “rules” numerous times… and made it very very clear to them that we WOULD in fact have a support vehicle.”

        • David Killick

          Many teams have a support crews and support vehicles. That’s not against the rules. What is against the rules is having a support vehicle follow you around the course and receiving support between controls. Has nobody yet made that clear?

          • So again, for clarity… I’ve seen much evidence of Follow vehicle… (would love to know the precise definition of this anyway).
            And, we made it very very clear to the officials that I would be following them the entire course.
            In fact… our 5 became 4 when a relative of one of our riders didn’t think that a follow car was sufficient safety for the riders… the Audax event organiser was CC’d in on all those conversations about the need and intention of having a follow vehicle and full support for the Oppy 24.
            We even questioned the rule… to which we were assured that during the Oppy 24 TT is was perfectly fine.
            Not sure how more clear I can be. Audax are completely at fault here. 100% Never at any time did we and or the Brevet team attempt to hide the fact that we were intending on riding in the manner in which we did.
            I’ve been around cycling and racing all my life… since 1978. I was a sports official for over 10 years… I’m in the habit of reading rules.
            You need to hear and listen to what I’m saying. We raised this with Audax. Audax had plenty of opportunities to tell us that they didn’t want us riding like that… they chose not to. Hence we did not break the rules… rather we were riding in the manner in which we had always intended to do.

            • David Killick

              Yep, perfectly clear. You told them you’d be following the team and providing support in between controls and someone told you that was just fine. Why has the team been disqualified then?

            • David Killick

              So you said you’d be following the team and providing support between controls and they said they were ok with that. What’s the disqualification for then?

              • For doing exactly that.
                This is why we challenged the DQ. Our defence was essentially… “We told you we’d be doing this”.

                • David Killick

                  Not sure why anyone would have thought it was ok or why they might be able to vary the rules on request. This has been sent to Audax members today:

                  Following the 2016 Flèche Opperman All Day Trial (the Oppy) in Wagga Wagga, NSW, two teams were disqualified by the Ride Organiser and Designated Support Person under section 11 (2) of the Audax Ride Rules. Specifically the disqualifications were on the basis of use of a support vehicle in the capacity as a “follow vehicle” and provision of personal support outside a designated control (checkpoint). The two teams issued disqualifications were Team Brevet and Four Abreast.

                  Last week, at the request of the two teams, the National Committee of Audax Australia convened special meetings under section 14 of the Ride Rules to consider their objections to the disqualifications. Audax President, Russell Noble, had performed the duties of the Designated Support Person and provided evidence to the National Committee, so he stood aside from participating in the decision.

                  At the Oppy, teams nominate their route, including controls, and only at those nominated controls can personal support be provided. The disqualifications were upheld as personal support was provided by the teams’ support crews at points not nominated by the teams as controls.

                  The rides undertaken by both teams were incredible feats of endurance cycling, however they were outside the rules of Audax. Randonneuring has a long history of embracing self-sufficiency on the road between controls. This is embodied in Audax Australia within our ride rules and the rules themselves are what differentiate an Audax ride from other forms of cycling. Everyone is reminded that whenever we enter an Audax ride, we agree in our entry form to abide by the Audax Ride Rules. It is incumbent upon each entrant to familiarise themselves with these rules.

                  This has been an unfortunate outcome which has impacted all involved, and has overshadowed the incredibly successful hosting of the Oppy in Wagga Wagga. It saw a record number of teams involved, and included participants from all sections of the cycling community, from Audax, the racing community and local Bicycle User Groups.

                  I commend all parties for their attitude and contribution to this process. It was an unfamiliar situation for all of us, and I hope the outcome will not deter those who want to attempt these feats within the confine of the club rules.

                  RICHARD SCHEER


                  National Committee Appeal Meetings

                  • This response is in line with what we know.
                    Hence… Audax will continue to move along is current trajectory.

            • Lewis C


              Clearly the teams video upload indicates no intention to deliberately cheat.

              To clarify, when you say Audax had “FULLY endorsed” your plans, was it made clear that the car was going to provide support on the road? This is vastly different from following.
              Do you have documentation of such?
              I have no problem with a car following for safety or to document the ride but the published rules are clear that support can only be provided at nominated points. If an Audax representative has indeed provided contradictory advice please provide the evidence.
              If someone at Audax has given you incorrect advice that’s disappointing and doesn’t reflect well on them. I do however find it extremely arrogant if people think they can be exempted from the rules others are playing by just because they are attempting a record.
              It was my first time attempting the event so I double checked on support. It was made clear via email that support could only be provided at designated checkpoints and referred me back to the rules as published on the website.
              I respect the athletic achievement of both teams as I know first hand what a gruelling event it is, even at shorter distances.
              As an aside, please don’t use the old “riders… have also not followed the rules”. A certain L. Armstrong keeps trying that one on anyone who’ll listen. It doesn’t reflect well on yourself or the athletes in your team.

              • Thanks Lewis… I need to clarify something… according to Audax rules, simply having a follow car is enough for a DQ.
                Therefore they are also saying to hell with safety.
                This is how I know they endorsed our ride plan… they specifically knew that this is what I intended to do and to feed the girls along the way. Yes we have email evidence of this.

                • David Killick

                  I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just trying to understand: why is necessary for safety reasons to have a following car?

                  • My car can be seen more easily by other cars in the wee hours. Also I was able to watch the girls and alert them of any dangers.

  • C Grade Cyclist

    Looks like one of those situations where no-one wins. Even though they clearly broke the rules, it’s also clear they weren’t trying to cheat. And Audax didn’t want to DQ them, but they had no choice as the rules were broken (especially given it was a record).
    The argument of whether or not a follow car is integral to rider safety really isn’t relevant. Either you can or you can’t, and if you don’t think that’s safe then don’t enter the event. That’s probably my only gripe in this whole episode – the ‘spirit’ of Audax (and hence the way the rules have been written) is a purely self-sufficient ride, where you have to look after your own food and safety (hence why it isn’t for everybody!). If you want to bring it to a more modern, professional style ‘team time trial’ format – then that’s great (and I’d love to follow that too!) but Audax isn’t the place to do it.
    There is no denying though (as the Audax organisers noted) that both teams were incredible in the efforts they put in. Amazing rides, and I loved trying to follow the rides as well as I could on social media. Hopefully they can find a more appropriate arena/contest and have another crack sometime in the future to see what they can do next!

  • half man half sprocket

    Audax should be in a museum featuring remnants of the steam age. Will it take the death of a rider for them to realise the rules for The Oppy need to be updated for road conditions in the 21st century. The rules related to the Oppy appear to break the constitution of Audax which highlight the need to ensure the health and safety of riders. I keep imagining the committee for Audax arriving by horse and buggy.

    • C Grade Cyclist

      I’ve been on lots of night-time bunch rides, both in the city and quiet-semi-rural roads. Never used a follow car. Always had lots of lights and reflective gear.
      I get it that some people don’t feel safe doing it – everyone is entitled to have a ‘personal threshold’ for safety. That doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. And they always have the option of not participating in an event that they don’t feel safe in.

    • Hamish Moffatt

      You have no idea what you are talking about and don’t even have the decency to post under your real name.


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