Historic agreement in Northern Ireland

By Shane Stokes

A long-running political split has come to an end with the announcement that the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation (NICF) will amalgamate with Cycling Ulster in 2007, this affiliating them to the UCI.

NICF clubs recently voted in support of the change in direction, which took place after long negotiations to overcome the political hurdles.

The agreement unites a sport that has been divided for three decades. As a result, NICF member clubs will switch affiliation from British Cycling to Cycling Ireland. The members will still be able to opt for their preferred nationality code, thus preserving their political and cultural identities.

A spokesman for Cycling Ulster said, "This is an historic occasion and will see the Ulster region become the strongest of the four provincial federations. Relationships between the two groups have been harmonious for the past number of years and this coming together can only benefit cycling in the long term."

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