Posted by Editor on 11/11/99
Changes at the CCA
It looks like recent committee meetings at the Canadian Cycling Association will change the way the organization is structured (and how it will run). All of this information has been compiled from a variety of sources, and has not been confirmed by the CCA (who probably won't like the fact that we are reporting it...). There are a number of changes either underway or already in place. We have interspersed our comments throughout.
The Development Committee is going to become the Technical Committee. It will lose such functions as coaching and athlete development, and the focus will be rules and technical issues. It will also lose race scheduling and bid awarding for Canada Cups, national championships, etc. All of the functions it is losing will be handled by staff in the future, thus consolidating all these roles in the hands of non-elected people. The DC will lose coaching reps and gain a commissaire (in line with the technical thrust of the committee).
Our understanding is that current committee has had no involvement in these changes, and most of the members do not support them. In our opinion, this is an end run by certain groups who failed previously in their attempt to set up a CCA-run Race Department. More regional representation will be added to the Board, and possibly another athlete rep.
All in all, this appears to be an attempt to focus the CCA strictly on high performance. That would be fine, if the provinces were doing a proper job of developing new riders to replace those at the national level who retire (or are injured). Unfortunately, most provinces are not doing this job. It isn't that they don't want to, but that they do not have either the resources or expertise to do this job properly. Remember, most of the provinces have very limited staff (many have none), and do not have the access to high level coaching and planning that the CCA does.
Based on past performance, the CCA will not do the development job either. All of their budget and resources goes towards high performance - that is where they get their funding from. So, in the short term things look rosey, but long term is pretty bleak (there are going to be a number of retirements after Sydney). Ultimately, all the decisions will be concentrated in the hands of a very small group and, without a base of support, the organization will be in a precarious position. One gust of wind (say a resignation or a funding cut) and the existing structure could disintegrate, leaving someone to pick up the pieces and start from scratch.
Rumour has it that a number of provinces are not happy about this, and will oppose the changes at the CCA AGM (Victoria, first weekend in December).
One of the most important developments from the DC, for roadies at least, was the decision about the UCI rule changes for bikes. Effective Jan 1 2000 the UCI is changing the rules...perhaps you know all about this. Bikes will have to be "traditional", that is, have the traditional triangle design and same-diameter wheels. Obviously Soft-rides are out. More interesting, is that all tubes must have a straight centre-line...even bent stays and curved tubes would be illegal... Schwinn's and the new Specialized M4, both traditional "diamond" frame designs, will be rendered illegal because the seat-stays or chain stays have a curve near the drop outs. GT's could be illegal because of the way the stays cross the seat and top tubes. And, cyclo-cross bikes must meet the road definition (time trial bike rules are a little more lenient).
The DC decided to allow a years' grace for Canadian racing, but of course, Nationals, record attempts and international races have to be run to the new UCI standard in 2000. Apparently the U.S. is not willing to go along with the changes, so things could get interesting.
The Road Nationals will be in Peterborough (Ontario) and the Track Nationals in Bromont (Quebec). It appears that the Mountain Bike Nationals are scheduled for...Calgary Olympic Park. Never mind that they have never put on a Canada Cup, the need for an A market to satisfy sponsors is paramount. The COP could be quite suitable for Dual and Cross Country, but is pretty short (and tame) for the downhill. Maybe they could send the riders off the ski jump or down the luge run... The CCA has also taken an official position that, although they will try to follow the regional rotation of Nationals decided upon several years ago, due to many pressures (including sponsor), the CCA would basically tell everybody that it retained the right to put the Nationals wherever they wanted, thus staving off complaints from provinces who felt it was "their turn".
We have already published the draft 2000 calendar, and for 2001 it looks like the Canada Cup series will be reduced to 5 events.
What Can You Do?
If you agree or disagree with any of these proposals/actions your options are somewhat limited:
1. Talk to your provincial association President before the AGM. They are your voice on the CCA Board, and are the ones who can vote for or against changes. Contact them through your provincial association.
2. Contact the CCA directly, to voice your opinion. You can contact the Executive Director (Patrick Healy) or the President (Brian Jolly) through the CCA office. All the contacts are on their website - www.canadian-cycling.com. If you are going to do this, you should have prepared a clear and concise document, to e-mail, mail or fax to the proper person. Calling them up to tell them you think their ideas suck is definitely not appropriate, and will not help your cause.
3. Show up at the CCA AGM in Victoria. It is your right as a member to show up. You do not have a vote (that is what your provincial president is there for), but a large turnout could sway some opinion.
4. Post to the Forums. Probably won't do any good, but you might feel better...
EditorÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Opinion: Many of these changes are coming whether we like it or not. The direction of federal funding is performance-based, and we have to recognize that. Plus, cycling in Canada has done extremely well on the international stage, particularly compared to countries such as the U.S.A., which have enormous budgets relative to us.
The downside is that, more than ever, development is drifting and rudderless. If even half of our top riders retire after the Olympics next year, cycling could drop pretty rapidly in funding. We suggest that the CCA spearhead an initiative to develop guidelines and direction to the provinces for coaching and young rider development. We need to revitalize the sport at the grassroots level.
The other disturbing trend is the consolidation of event scheduling and awarding to a small and non-public group. We are not suggesting that this group will act in an inappropriate manner in the awarding of events, but the process should be transparent, and should encourage the development of new organizers. It is all too easy for overworked individuals to take the easy route of sticking to traditional venues and organizers. Again, what if one drops out?
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