Yesterday, the Secretario Técnico of the Federación de ciclismo Región de Murcia Joaquin Lopez took to Facebook to complain about the treatment of the Spanish national cycling champion Juan Antonio Sanchez Navarro by Real Federacion Española de Ciclismo after Sanchez was not selected for the Spanish team for the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships scheduled to get underway in Nottwil, Switzerland on July 28.
Sanchez is not currently classified by the UCI to compete on the international level, and UCI classification policy only allows cyclists to be classified after a request by the national cycling federation. National cyclists who might be motivated to try to compete internationally without national federation support find themselves in a Catch-22 situation, in that they need to be classified in order to compete and be eligible to medal in open events like some of the World Cups.
At last year’s Campeonato de España de ciclismo adaptado in Ciudad Real in May, Sanchez was named the Spanish champion in the MC5 time trial event. This year, Ciudad Real hosted the event again with Sanchez claiming gold in the C4-C5 road race and repeating his previous victory in the time trial event.
The decision to exclude Sanchez from the team is seen by Lopez as largely a political decision, because Spain has three spots in Sanchez’s class where they can send cyclists to compete. The team that was named to compete does not fill these three allocations, so Sanchez should be worth naming. According to Lopez, they were confident that Sanchez’s national classification of C5 would be reaffirmed at the international level. The lack of national federation nomination thus means that Sanchez cannot compete here, even though he is willing to self fund his participation at the Swiss hosted competition.
Lopez has indicated that with elections coming up, Federación de ciclismo Región de Murcia will be thinking about the treatment of their cyclists and his treatment. This will sway how the federation votes for new leadership.
This situation appears to take place against a larger historical backdrop of issues regarding Spanish national team selection. Spanish world champion cyclist Jose Diego Jara Vidal has alleged that Real Federacion Española de Ciclismo have served as an impediment in his own cycling career, and that they have profited more from his victory than he has. Jara claims that he has had to pay for his own license, for his own travel to international events, for medical costs associated with competing. He goes on to claim that at the same time that he was expected to pay for all of the costs associated with participating at the elite level, others who were favored by Real Federacion Española de Ciclismo had all their costs covered. Jara also notes that Sanchez has benefited from the support of Federación de ciclismo Región de Murcia, while Jara did not have similar support during his own difficulties with the national federation.
The Murcia federation was contacted for comment about this story, but had not responded by the time the article was published.