Posted by Editor on 04/14/16
Cycling Canada has decided to not send a team to the Pan American Road Championships in San Cristobal, Venezuela, due to security risks. The event is scheduled to take place on May 18th to 22nd. USA Cycling have also decided to not participate in these championships, due to security concerns.
The location of the event would necessitate flying into Cucuta, Colombia, and then travelling by ground transportation to San Cristobal. The Canadian government has issued a regional advisory for that area over concerns of cross-border violence, kidnapping, smuggling and drug trafficking, with foreigners being specifically targeted. A state of emergency is in effect, with an increased military presence.
The non-attendance will have little impact on Olympic qualification. The quota for the men's road and time trial events has already been announced by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
"On the women's side," according the High Performance Director, Jacques Landry, "not participating will have an impact but not a huge one, if we continue performing on the world stage as we are now with riders such as Leah Kirchmann and Karol-Ann Canuel. As of March 27th we are still ranked ninth among nations, which would grant us three spots in the Road Race at the Games, and we are more than 500 points from falling past the 14th nation; which would give us only two Road Race spots."
The impact on world championship quotas is more significant and could affect the ability to obtain maximum quota spots, explained Landry. "As an example, there is 250 points up for grabs to win the men’s Road Race. With the new UCI points system there is even more importance in racing and performing at Pan Am championships, as compared to UCI 2.2 category races in North America."
"However," continued Landry, "the security of our athletes and staff is paramount and, based on the information and advice we have received, we are not comfortable with sending anyone to these championships. Given this security and safety issue in Venezuela, we will be contacting the UCI to voice our concern and frustration around this event."
For more information, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (travel.gc.ca/destinations/venezuela).
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