Seymour reveals no funds available to send Irish team to Worlds

Posted on: January 13th, 2017

Robin Seymour was not inclined to agree with suggestion that an Irish team should go to the World Cyclocross Championships in Luxembourg in two weeks. Above, on his way to the Masters 40 title at last weekend’s National Cyclocross Championships (Photo: Sean Rowe)


By Brian Canty

Robin Seymour has said while it’s regrettable no Irish team is going to the World Championships later this month in Luxembourg the situation must be viewed from a financial standpoint.

Given Cycling Ireland sent a team to the European Championships in France in late October, funds were already stretched to the limit, he said.

And even though there were offers of outside assistance, Seymour says the focus should be on smaller events, including those in the UK.

Trip to World Cyclocross Championships; three-night package from Friday, Jan 27th. Follow this link for pricing and other details.

“There isn’t any money,” he said when asked for a reaction on the non-selection of a team; a decision made by the off-road commission of which he is part.

“Our trip last year to the World Championships cost €4,000 and the European Championships in France cost €4,000 so that’s that.

“It’s probably the equivalent to the excess baggage of a track trip to Mexico,” he added, tongue-in-cheek.

He added Cycling Ireland’s off-road commission of just €15,000 annually.

“That’s divided between cross-country, downhill and cyclocross so there’s very little you can do with that. It’s not a lot.

“I think it’s better to spend limited resources on doing cheaper events like in the UK. They are easier to get to and cheaper to get to.

“Riders are prepared to fund themselves but Cycling Ireland have a policy on that.”

Seymour was referring to the fact that Cycling Ireland allows riders to compete in UCI World Cups by funding themselves, once they have gained results, but will not allow trips to the World Championships to be self-funded.

Some feel allowing self-funded trips – with money riders have themselves or source from third parties including sponsors – diminishes the status of riders representing their country at Worlds level.

However, the policy is now under pressure considering some of the riders are young, emerging and have gained results abroad.

They are also willing to fund or part-fund their own Worlds trips, but are not being sent to the Worlds for lack of funding.

There are also very considerable sums being spent on track and paracycling, though they are very small sections of Irish cycling while cyclocross has really taken off in recent years.

“The high-performance have a criteria for riders to satisfy; that is what Geoff (Liffey, CEO) and Brian (Nugent, Cycle Ireland technical director) work off,” Seymour continued.

While not keen to discuss specific cases, Seymour simply said: “You could make a case that JB Murphy deserved to go in the junior category.”

Seymour is the most decorated rider in the history of Irish off-road. He rode the Worlds in both MTB and cyclocross and the Olympics twice as an MTB rider.

He has only recently stopped racing at the elite national championships, having aged into the Masters category.

Away from competing and his work with the off-road commission, he has been instrumental in facilitating the explosion of cyclocross.

He can be regularly seen doing the heavy manual work involved in getting courses dug out and being generally readied for competing; often to the detriment of his own performance.