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Successful appeals by Chloe Hosking and Rachel Neylan have led to Cycling Australia reversing its unpopular decision to leave two women’s road team spots unfilled for the UCI Road World Championships.
Last week there was at first surprise and then uproar as the cycling community saw that the women’s road team list ended after just five names. It was two short of the seven places the Australian women had earned as a result of being the world’s third-ranked cycling nation.
Hosking, Australia’s top-ranked rider at number eight in the world, quickly said she intended to appeal. Neylan, a former World Championship silver medallist also joined her. By Wednesday Cycling Australia said that the appeals had been allowed by the independent Selection Review Panel. The issue was referred back to the selectors who were asked to reconsider their choice.
The outcome? Hosking and Neylan were both added to the team, just nine days before the event. Australia now has the seven riders it is entitled to under the quota system (excluding the spot allowed for the Oceania Champion).
Cycling Australia High Performance director Simon Jones said in a statement that “with the Worlds starting this week, and with the athletes in mind, I want us to move forward quickly and focus on the bike racing.”
“I take this opportunity to welcome Chloe and Rachel to the team. I’m also looking forward to sitting down and meeting the team face to face in Bergen and discussing my vision, ideas and plans for the future.”
Jones, who formerly worked at British Cycling and Team Sky, was appointed to the role earlier this year. He told Ella CyclingTips at the time of the initial team announcement that the decision not to take a full team was made purely on a performance basis, as the Australian women didn’t have a clear athlete that could be backed 100% with a full team.
It was a statement that provoked a big reaction given the nation’s female riders had lifted their ranking up to third in the world and individual riders had delivered high-level performances at some key races on the calendar. Hosking spoke up, expressing that her concern was about far more than a slight to her ego, but was about the bigger issue of what message it sent out to the potential next generation of female athletes.
The selection decisions also came in the same week as news that two key Australian women’s development pathways were at risk and that Cycling Australia was cutting its funding toward the Orica-Scott women’s team and men’s Mitchelton-Scott development team.
The decision to change the team to seven riders, however, was welcomed with relief. Both Hosking and Neylan expressed theirs.
Neylan and Hosking will now join the riders who were initially selected at the Road Worlds race on September 23. Those riders are Gracie Elvin, Shara Gillow, Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt and Australian champion Katrin Garfoot, who is riding both the road race and the time trial.