Road and track has voted ‘no’ to AusCycling … but the story isn’t over yet

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Road and track won’t join the AusCycling initiative to unify Australia’s cycling disciplines … at least not as one cohesive unit.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting on Friday, Cycling Australia’s (CA) state and territory bodies voted against the proposal, with only five of the eight organisations voting in support. While this represents majority support, a ‘yes’ vote of 75% was required for road and track to join AusCycling as a whole.

The result was not unexpected: Cycling New South Wales, WestCycle and Cycling Tasmania had all previously indicated they would vote against the proposal. And while their position prevents road and track from joining AusCycling as a cohesive block, it appears these disciplines will still be able to join the new organisation in piecemeal fashion.

Earlier this week, the presidents of Cycling Victoria, Cycling South Australia, Cycling Northern Territory and Cycling Queensland — four of the five states/territories that voted in support of AusCycling — sent a letter to Sport Australia’s Acting CEO Robert Dalton, stating their desire to be part of the project. (As a reminder, Sport Australia is the federal government agency responsible for supporting and investing in sport around Australia and the organisation that has promised $2.5 million to get AusCycling up and running).

The presidents’ letter highlights that the majority of road and track states/territories voted in support of AusCycling, and that even in New South Wales — perhaps the state most vocally opposed to AusCycling — “clubs that voted ‘yes’ represented the majority of members.”

“In our view, those that voted ‘yes’ represent a very large majority and not only deeply care about the sport but embrace the opportunity to be equals with MTBA and BMXA,” the presidents wrote. “To that end we, on behalf of our organisations, all strongly support the formation of AusCycling and upon its inception, will explore all possible avenues to take up membership, recognising that if this occurs it may require us to withdraw our membership of the relevant State and National Sporting Organisation.”

The presidents’ letter of support was sent on Thursday March 26, roughly two weeks after the CEO of both Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) and BMX Australia (BMXA), Shane Coppin, indicated to Sport Australia that the two organisations intend to form AusCycling as planned. MTBA voted in support of AusCycling in December 2019, while BMXA pledged its support in February 2020 (after initially heading for a ‘no’ vote).

“Following the voting and respective decisions from members of both Mountain Bike Australia and BMX Australia to support the establishment of AusCycling, I am writing to confirm the intention of both organisations to proceed to form AusCycling by Q4, 2020 and seek the continued support and commitment of SportAus in this undertaking,” Coppin wrote. “We eagerly await the outcome of the Cycling Australia SGM on the 27th March 2020,” he wrote at the time, “and are hopeful that their members will support the inclusion and transition of Cycling Australia into AusCycling on that date.”

For now, the fate of AusCycling is in Sport Australia’s hands. It seems likely the organisation will uphold its commitment to support the creation of and help to fund AusCycling, even if it had banked on MTBA, BMX and CA supporting the initiative. And should AusCycling go ahead as planned, it seems likely that the new body will become Australia’s one certified National Sporting Organisation, almost certainly spelling the end for Cycling Australia as we know it, especially as half of its constituent members are looking to jump ship.

All of Australia’s cycling disciplines have now had their say on the AusCycling proposal. But far from having clarity about how things are going to play out from here, much is still left to be resolved. The saga continues.

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