Cyclist calls foul on bikes

Track bike use a breach of event's spirit, medallist says

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 11:25 21/02/2014
Southland Times photo
JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN/Fairfax NZ
Cyclist Johnny Greener, 78, right, won four silver medals at the New Zealand Masters Games. Trevor Mills, of Alexandra, won two bronze for swimming at the games.

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A 78-year-old cyclist was denied a fair shot at a gold medal at national tournament because organisers let some competitors ride road bikes on the velodrome, he says.

Alexandra athlete John Greener competed at his 11th New Zealand Masters Tournament earlier this month, winning four silvers in cycling.

He said the competition was disappointing and controversial after organisers allowed cyclists to ride on road bikes, instead of track bikes during the 500 metre time trial in the velodrome.

"A road rider won my favourite event, the track time trial. I got beaten by 0.72 seconds. Some were using road bikes on the track which isn't legal. It was a real sore point I can tell you. You can't ride a track bike in a road race... the bikes are designed for specific things."

Cyclists who used road bikes on the track had the added advantage of being able to use gears, he said.

"(The winner) could change gear when he got a back wind. "The organisers should not have allowed them to ride. It wasn't mentioned before the race. Generally speaking, the organisation was terrible. The races were meant to start at 3pm and we didn't get under way until 4.30pm. Having to wait around is quite hard when you are in the older age bracket. The older riders are always last on show and you are last to get your medals. You barely get time to have a wee stubbie."

NZMG cycling co-ordinator Barry Ellis said in previous years they had allowed competitors to ride in events that were against the clock, on their road bikes.

"We allowed this to happen again this year, and I inquired as to what Wanganui allow, and was told that they do the same as we do.

"I think that if we look at the results, all but one of the medallists used a track bike. "The standout performer in that age group on the track, used a road time trial bike, but he would have bolted in even on a track bike, but preferred to bring two bikes to Dunedin not three."

He was not aware of any controversy regarding it, he said.

"This is the first that I have heard of any issue. It is illegal to ride a road bike on the track when competing against another rider in a matched competition, but not in a timed event. Everybody had equal opportunity to ride a road bike in the timed events."

Cycling Southland spokesman Bruce Ross said in tournaments or meetings organised under the umbrella of BikeNZ, it was normal practice that only track bikes be used on the track.

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However, the Masters Games was not organised under the auspices of BikeNZ, he said.

- The Mirror

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