No chance for Herfoss to race Tour Down Under
The national championships on the weekend provided a showcase of road racing talent in Australia and one stand-out performance came from Troy Herfoss. Alas, he won’t be able to test himself in the WorldTour this January.
There has been a significant change in the protocols to allow riders to participate in WorldTour races in 2018. A year ago, the regulations offered a proviso for athletes to compete even if they hadn’t been subjected to blood passport controls that are a requirement for the sport’s top-tier cyclists.
At the start of this year, that all changed*.
The difference in the ruling means that it’s going to be hard for the UniSA team to find a line-up for Australian riders to participate in the upcoming Santos Tour Down Under, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018.
Since the inception of the race there has been at least one team with a composite team of Australian riders present in the race. The title has been won twice by riders who are not part of the traditional pro peloton: 2002, when Michael Rogers won while racing for team sponsored by the AIS; and in 2004 when Patrick Jonker won, racing with the UniSA team.
(There has also been a United Water sponsored team which, in the formative years of the race, included young Australian riders on the roster.)
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In 2018, the aim of Cycling Australia, as reported yesterday, was to reward the best-placed team in the National Road Series (NRS) with solid representation in the UniSA team at the Tour Down Under for the subsequent season. Alas, the changes in UCI rules means that Bennelong-SwissWellness is unlikely to get the spoils that they were promised by Cycling Australia as part of sweeping changes to the NRS program after a protracted review of the series.
Good intentions? Yes! Correct application…? Unlikely.
The official line includes references to RTP testing over DTP.
“[The] UCI have been very firm on riders’ eligibility for TDU standing on being on the RTP list.”
Registered Testing Pool vs Domestic Testing Pool… that is the difference. The former involves full protocols as imposed on WorldTour riders, the latter is what riders who are part of NRS teams (and many other athletes around the world, in a range of sports) need to adhere to.
None of this has yet been formally communicated by Cycling Australia but RIDE understands that a decision can be expected in the coming days. Exactly what the outcome will be, however, remains a mystery.
Troy Herfoss, in black (above), is likely to be spending even more time cycling in 2018… but he won’t be racing the Santos Tour Down Under this year.
Photo: Jean-Pierre Ronco
The fact is, not even an elite rider who has excelled in recent days – and has a comprehensive DTP from another sport, as well as drug test results from cycling in recent months – is able to be part of the UniSA team in 2018.
Troy Herfoss is a fine example: a formidable rider on the motorcycle racing circuit, he has been given endorsement from Motorcycling Australia, as someone who is on that sport’s testing list. Despite his history in that sport, however, it will not influence the selection of the UniSA team. The application process to procure a place on the UniSA team for 2018 will, apparently, require RTP history. Herfoss’ bid for a place has therefore been rejected because it doesn’t meet the UCI’s requirements.
Herfoss, as many will recall, was on the attack constantly during the road race at the national championships on Sunday. He was in the lead group, he attacked the lead group, he rode solo for several laps… and he still finished 23rd! His is a relatively new name to cycling but the performance by Herfoss made a lot of people pay attention.
Of course, he was never a shoe-in for a place on the UniSA team but he is now being considered for Australian team representation in other races. And it’s obvious why: he’s an amazing talent! And what’s even better is that he wants to follow up his impressive motorcycling career with more exciting racing on his road bike.
Alas, that is not going to happen at the Santos Tour Down Under… not this year.
Exactly who will meet the criteria remains to be seen but this has the potential to be another bizarre administration error from the cycling’s governing body in Australia. According to numerous sources, Cycling Australia was made aware of the rule change in March 2017 and either “forgot about it” or, even worse, “accidently deleted the email”… and then forgot about it.
Whatever the case, it is a frustration that cycling in Australia could do without.
In the coming weeks road racing will receive more attention in Australian than it does at any other time in the year – with the exception of Tour de France time, in July. It is a chance to showcase local talent on an international stage… and at home, in a suitable time zone for mainstream coverage.
But many of the riders who were expecting to be part of the peloton for the 20th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under are unlikely to be on the start line.
Again, as RIDE’s report concluded yesterday: it’s a watch-this-space scenario and we’ll see what develops in the next couple of days.
– By Rob Arnold
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*Note: In February 2017, the UCI’s rule stated:
“In order to compete in a UCI WorldTour race, riders must have submitted accurate whereabouts information and have been subjected to at least three blood parameter tests collected in accordance with the UCI biological passport protocols. The three tests must have been collected over a minimum period of six weeks.”
The rule now reads as follows…
“In order to compete in a UCI WorldTour race, riders must have submitted accurate and up to date whereabouts information to an anti-doping organisation for a minimum period of six weeks and have been subject to testing in accordance with the athlete biological passport programme as implemented by the UCI.”