Controversy surrounds women's cycling events
AFTER perhaps the most controversial day in NatWest Island Games cycling history, Kim Ashton, and indeed the entire Jersey women's team, were left in a hugely frustrating situation.
Having won Thursday's women's individual and team criterium gold, the 27-year-old's euphoria was short-lived when it became apparent that officials – provided by British Cycling – had imposed a sanction on all three Jersey riders for allegedly being late to the start line.
The hosts appealed against the penalty, which was originally thought to be an additional lap of the 1.54 km course but later understood to be 1 min 15 sec added to each rider's time. After hours of debate, organisers announced that a decision would not be made until this morning, leaving Ashton and Co confused and disappointed.
'It's really frustrating, not just for myself but for every rider involved,' said Ashton, who has already won four gold medals at Jersey 2015.
'We all participate to get a result, whether it be first or last ... I think everyone just wants an answer.
'I was just trying to win the race. We were told absolutely nothing before the race so as riders, as far as we're concerned, you can't all of a sudden pull out a different rule and tell people otherwise.
'I think it is totally unnecessary. Something has come up from somewhere that's not even on a rulebook and it's totally bizarre, really. How that has come about I don't know but it's a shame for the sport and for the event.'
Meanwhile, after the conclusion of the men's race, Saaremaa refused to take their place on the team event podium because they felt one of their own, Mihkel Räim, was unfairly denied individual bronze. Räim claims to have crossed the line in third place but the commissaires instead awarded the bronze to Manxman Leon Mazzone.
Speaking after the medal ceremony Saaremaa rider Endrik Puntso said his team were very frustrated with the final decision, against which they had lodged an appeal.
'One of my team-mates was sure he was in third position in individual but unfortunately the commissaires think different so he wasn't on the podium,' he said.
'We decided not to come to this team podium in protest because we are not happy with the work of the commissaires.'
In the end, it was a huge shame that controversy overshadowed two hugely entertaining races that were both – as the majority of Jersey 2015 events have been – very well supported by the general public.
Legitimate or not, Ashton's comprehensive win – she finished over a minute ahead of second-placed Elizabeth Holden from the Isle of Man – reinforced the incredible vein of form she has been in over the last week or so, while solid races from Clare Treharne and Laura Chellingworth, in theory, secured the hosts their third road cycling women's team gold of the Games.
In a much closer hour-plus-five-laps men's race, it was Bermudian Sidney Mayho who won a sprint for the line to clinch the top
gong, ahead of Manxmen Nathan Draper and Leon Mazzone in silver and bronze respectively.
With five laps to go, Jersey had four riders in the lead group of around 15 cyclists. However, Bermuda 2013 silver medallist Richard Tanguy crashed out soon after the hour mark, before Chris Spence, Stephen Haley and Sam Firby all just missed out on a place in the top three. Nonetheless, the hosts did enough to secure team silver behind Isle of Man.
Tanguy said: 'Unfortunately, someone came down in front of me and I had nowhere to go. I ended up right in the back of him and then on the floor ... that's the way it goes really.
'I've hurt my shoulder but if that had happened earlier I could have maybe had a lap out, got back round to the pits and got back in but that's not allowed so close to the end. At that stage I was confident I could finish in a good position but these things happen.'
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