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Cycling World Championships: French Federation defends decision to fly female riders to Australia in economy

Julian Alaphilippe
Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe is aiming to defend his UCI Road World Championships title in Australia

The French Cycling Federation has defended its decision to fly its men to the Cycling World Championships in Australia in business class while the women’s team travelled in economy.

News of the decision has provoked criticism in France.

But Christophe Manin, French cycling’s national technical director, said 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 nine members of the men’s team, including two-time defending world champion Julian Alaphilippe, travelled in business while the rest of the group, including seven women riders, male and female riders in the junior events and the support staff, were in economy.

Manin also did not make the 20-hour trip to Wollongong 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 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.

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.”

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