Pat McQuaid has dismissed criticism that it is not possible for riders who rode in the Commonwealth Games last month to also ride in the European track championships this coming weekend. The International Cycling Union president accused the protesting riders of “playing to the galleries.”
The Commonwealth Games were held in Delhi, India, ending October 8. The European track cycling championships open this Friday in Pruskow, Poland. For the first time, they are open to over-23 riders and will count as qualification towards the London 2012 Olympics.
A number of top British track cyclists had said that the two events were too close together and that they could not compete in both. Multiple Olympic gold-medal winner Sir Chris Hoy, said, “"It's a decision that's been forced on me by the nature of the qualification process for the London Olympics.
While some of the endurance riders will do both events, no sprinters have done so, saying they cannot peak twice within such a short time period.
McQuaid rejected that philosophy. "I do not necessarily agree with some of the statements that have been made by some athletes that they cannot compete at certain events because of the European Championships," McQuaid told the Sportsbeat press agency.
"I believe that if an athlete cannot compete six, seven maybe ten times a year then they should not call themselves a top class athlete.
"And so I think some of the statements made was a little bit of playing to the galleries."