Peloton Watch
  The Oceania Tour Another Step Back  
  November 15th 2012  
  If you hold the view as I do that the UCI Oceania Confederation President should have an interest and be working towards expanding the Oceania Tour you would be wrong. Yes we would be wrong. As shocking (or perhaps not) as that sounds we appear to have unrealistic expectations. At least as far as current president Mike Turtur is concerned. published an article today regarding Turtur's vision for the future of the Oceania Tour. The title of the article was Asia and Oceania combined championships proposed for 2014. I was immediately concerned just from the title. This was before I even read the first word. Upon reading the article my concern increased.

Just 2 days ago I published the article The Oceania Tour - Where To From Here setting out how we could start moving the Oceania Tour in new direction. One that sees more races added, and not more races taken off the calendar.

Having a combined Asia and Oceania Championships is a step in the wrong direction in my view. As the Oceania Championships TT and Road Race currently account for two of the three events. Take those away and you are left with only one. If there is only one race we cannot even call it the Oceania Tour anymore and the entire Tour might as well be cancelled.

According to the article by Alex Malone on "He [Turtur] insists however, his role does not involve being responsible for encouraging the growth of UCI-registered races in Australia. That decision lies with race organisers who have often decided to forgo the UCI 'stamp' due to costs and restrictions involved in holding such an event, says Turtur."

So let me get that right the president of the Oceania Confederation does not believe he should be responsible for encouraging the growth of the Oceania Tour. I hear people saying what? I thought the same thing. Turtur notes costs and restrictions as holding back events. That I don't dispute but surely the job of the Oceania Confederation would be to assist race organisers (not necessarily financially) with these issues?

Turtur is further quoted as saying "That wasn't my task [to fix the Oceania calendar]. When I became President in 2008/2009 there were three events on the calendar,". I ask all Australian cyclists and fans is this the sort of inaction you want to see from the Oceania Confederation President?

It is unfair to blame Turtur for everything as the UCI itself has not been willing provide assistance to race organisers. Oceania is a small confederation and our location also does not help with logistical issues. The UCI has said it wants to globalise the sport. We have seen this with WT races being held in China and an increasing number of races in North America and Africa but apparently in Oceania we are not as important. If you look at the number of WT teams with Australian riders for 2013 it will probably be nine (or half), there is also a growing number of riders from New Zealand being offered contracts in WT teams as well.

The national road series is a great development series don't get me wrong but progression for many riders is still an issue. Riders on continental and pro-continental teams can gain points riding in UCI races. This gives them a greater value to their current team but also potentially for a move to WT teams. The national road series does not gives riders these same opportunities. Not having a UCI rating also makes it difficult to attract overseas teams to Australian events.
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