French veteran Jeannie Longo has initiated legal action against the French cycling federation after her non-selection for the French team at the world championships. Longo, 46, alleges that she is being discriminated against because of her age and should have a place in today's time trial. France's two spots in the race against the clock were allocated to national TT champion Edwige Pitel (38) and Marina Jaunatre (23) who was third behind Longo in the national championships in June.
"This is discrimination in hiring, a subject that the government has things to say about," Longo told AFP. "Competence should be the criterion for the race, and age should not matter."
Longo said she was "injured", "disappointed", "humiliated" by her non-selection and added that she had been training hard for the time trial. "I have built power; I trained on the track; I rode my time trial bike as much as possible," she said.
However, the chairman of the French Cycling Federation, Jean Pitallier, doesn't believe Longo deserves a spot. "Her results don't justify a place in the team. The possibility of her returning to the team is out of the question."
When the French team was announced, national technical director Patrick Cluzaud told L'Equipe, "We preferred to play the youth card; our role is also to prepare the future."
Pitallier added that he was disappointed with Longo's attitude. "It's a pity that such a champion wouldn't display a little more sporting behaviour," he said.