The French Cycling Federation has defended its decision to fly its men to the Cycling World Championships in Australia in business class while sending the women in economy. In France, the decision has sparked outrage.
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However, Christophe Manin, the national technical director of French cycling, stated that the decision was based on money and the men’s better chance of winning.
“We don’t have the means to put everyone in business,” Manin told AFP.
The men’s team, which included two-time defending world champion Julian Alaphilippe, travelled in business, while the rest of the group, which included seven women riders, male and female junior riders, and support staff, travelled in economy.
Manin also skipped the 20-hour trip to Wollongong in order to save money.
“Some countries, like Ireland, have decided not to participate in the World Championships,” he said. “We asked ourselves if we should take all the categories, especially the juniors. We did it.
“But we don’t have the means to put everyone in the business. For the men, we’ve been world champions for the last two years. We are really going there to win, while we are more of an outsider in the girls’ competition.
“If we had the mountain bike world championships in Australia with the same economic choice to make, we would put the two girls in business and the boys in economy”, he said, referring to four-time cross country world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and European champion Loana Lecomte.
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Team manager Thomas Voeckler, who travelled economy, told AFP: “I am concentrating on the sport and I have no energy to lose as long as the riders of the French team are proud to wear the colours of the jersey.”