Posted by Editor on 11/5/01
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We have begun to piece together the latest news from the Canadian Cycling Association. This is the time of year (ie, prior to the AGM) when planning sessions take place and decisions are made for the association and the sport. From talking with various sources (and by paying attention to what isn't being said...), the following is a collection of things that are in process. In many cases there will be no official confirmation until the AGM (early December in Ottawa).
1. Pat Healy, Executive Director of the CCA will be leaving for a position with Sport Canada within the next month.
We reported on this before (at the rumour stage). It now appears to be confirmed. The plan is that Pierre Hutsebaut (Director National Racing Programs) will step in as interim E.D. and will be confirmed in the position at the AGM. He will continue to hold the position while 'training' his replacement, prior to taking up duties in Hamilton to oversee technical preparations for the 2003 Worlds.
Our analysis is the Pierre Hutsebaut is the only person on staff with the experience to step in at this point and ensure continuity. If the plan is followed, rather than Hutsebaut just taking on the E.D. position and doing both jobs, it would be a good way to ease in the proper person. However, there is some suspicion that this merely a scheme to keep the same 'regime' in power. Time will tell who is correct.
We believe that it is critical that the CCA bring in fresh blood to reinvigorate the association. If the Board (and particularly the Executive) is serious about revitalizing the CCA it is the time to make bold moves.
2. 2002 Calendar closer to completion.
Every year the release of the national calendar seems to drag on. The reason given is the desire to wait for the Norba schedule. Unfortunately, Norba has shown itself time and again to be unreliable, and to have no interest in working with Canada (they also sometimes revise the calendar even after it has been released). Riders, teams, sponsors and organizers need to have some idea what is going on to make their plans for next season.
Here is what we believe is scheduled thus far (and please note, it could all change again). Mountain bike nationals will be back at Sun Peaks for a second year, in early August. Track nationals will be in Bromont (mid-July) and road nationals will be in Alberta (likely Edmonton) in early July or late June. The road nationals is the most tentative at this point. There is also a slight chance that road nationals have been scheduled on top of the Mont Ste Anne World Cup. We have been assured that this will not be allowed to happen.
You will notice some dates are earlier than usual, which is due to the UCI moving up the dates of world championships. It has also been confirmed privately that the policy of alternating nationals east and west has been all but abandoned in favour of satisfying the requirements of sponsor Tim Hortons for at least one of the road or mountain bike nationals in an 'A' market (hence Edmonton). While we don't have a problem with accommodating sponsors, it seems that the CCA is starting to bend over backwards so far that it is in danger of toppling on its ass. Witness the potential fallout from the ITT accident at the Nationals in Dieppe this year.
The Canada Cup series will move east to west, with races in Poley, Martok and Tremblant. Hardwood and Silverstar have also been mentioned. A subcommittee has been formed to explore modifications to the series, since it is becoming somewhat irrelevant in its current format.
Very few riders attend the entire series, due to expense. It is becoming increasingly hard for a team to justify the expense to a sponsor, since the series has lost prestige (all the bigger names move on immediately to the Norba national series), and finding organizers willing to pay the sanction and organizational costs is also harder and harder.
One plan being floated (which we support) is to have eastern and western series, with a final where both meet (possibly nationals). This would cut expenses for riders and would encourage more to attend the entire series in their end of the country. It would work within the development mandate of the Canada Cup, and would inflame territorial rivalries nicely...
Don't expect see changes before 2003.
3. 2003 Worlds development progressing slowly.
This one is not the fault of the CCA. The feds and the city of Hamilton have both come to the table with a commitment for funds. What is stalling things is the province of Ontario. The Conservatives are playing their well-known tactic of putting off committing funds, hoping that the organizers will get desperate and take whatever is offered. So far, the organizing committee is prepared to outwait them, but the clock is ticking. This is a MAJOR event, and opportunities for sponsorship will be lost if they wait too long before acting.
This is where things stand within the political world of the CCA, so far as we can tell (with our opinions clearly noted).
In general, we give the CCA a passing grade at this point, since they seem to be making an effort to be more proactive than in past years. Let's hope they can keep up the momentum.
Feel free to comment on any or all of this material in the Forums. We will be running polls on some of these issues over the course of the next few weeks.
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