Track Cycling

Dear Editor: Has TTCF president, Robert Farrier, brought cycling into disrepute with Hartwell attack? – Wired868

“The fact that the [Trinidad Guardian] article could say, ‘[National Cycling coach Erin] Hartwell rarely uses times made by riders to justify his recommendation for selection, and committee members do not ask for any’ is an outright untruthful statement.

“[…] If indeed the President of the TTCF is the anonymous source of this misinformation to media outlets, it will be tantamount to an attempt to wrongfully bring his own organisation into disrepute.”

Former Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) executive member and national team manager Gary Acosta rebuts suggestions in a Trinidad Guardian article that national coach Erin Hartwell was biased against cyclist Quincy Alexander, who is the nephew of TTCF president Robert Farrier:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Quincy Alexander.

Dear Editor,

I write this letter, disheartened and disenchanted after reading an article in the Trinidad Guardian, dated Thursday 14th February, 2019 entitled, “Alexander threatens TTCF with legal action.”

Though the article would have been posted during a day where we show admiration towards one another, Alexander clearly went contrary and displayed no love.

I will attempt to address and clarify some of the issues noted in the article.

(World Championships Selection)

Based on the Trinidad & Tobago Cycling Federation’s (TTCF) constitution, the Racing Committee is the only standing committee which can select a National team.

The Racing Committee is guided by an approved set of regulations “TTCF-SP-001 – Policy and Procedures for the Selection of Cyclists and Officials to Represent Trinidad & Tobago at Local and Foreign International Competitions” which has been approved by the General Council of the TTCF.

Chapter 6 of said document clearly identifies the cyclists who are eligible for selection for UCI World Track Cycling Championships.

Photo: Cycling enthusiasts watch action at the National Cycling Centre in Couva.
(Copyright TTCF)

Rule TTCF.6.002: “The Racing Committee will assess the eligible cyclists for World Championships participation. These eligible cyclists will be as follows:

  1. If qualified via Nation Ranking, eligible cyclists will be those who contributed to the Nation Ranking through the World Cup series only. The Nation Rankings sums the points of a certain number of cyclists (identified by UCI), however, only those who both competed in the World Cup Series AND ranked among the top number of cyclists identified by UCI will be eligible to compete at the World Championships.
  2. If qualified via Individual Ranking, eligible cyclists will be those who based on points would have qualified T&T a spot regardless.

[…] The National Coach in consultation with the Racing Committee will assess and select cyclists to fill the provided quota from the pool of eligible cyclists.

The rule clearly indicates that a cyclist must have competed at a UCI World Cup for that season to be eligible to compete in a Team event. Cyclists who qualified T&T for an individual event would also be selected to compete in those individual events.

The most recent Pan American Track Champion in an individual event or a cyclist with better Olympic Ranking will receive a variation to the above cited eligibility.

Based on the competitors at the 2018/2019 UCI World Cup Series, 2018 Pan American Champions, UCI World Individual Rankings and Olympic Qualification Rankings, only four cyclists fit this eligibility; Njisane Phillip, Nicholas Paul, Keron Bramble and Kwesi Browne and thus are the only ones who can be selected.

Photo: The TTCF ‘A’ team of Njisane Phillip, Nicholas Paul, Keron Bramble and Kwesi Browne.

The fact that the Racing Committee provided provisional selection for the one kilometre time trial to Alexander, would have been based on the fact that the TTCF’s goals are on Olympic events. The ‘kilo’ has not been an Olympic event since 2008 and therefore is not a focus for this World Championships since T&T will also be competing in the Olympic events of the Team Sprint, Individual Sprint and Keirin.

That provisional selection would have been based on Chapter 13 – Discretionary Selection of the TTCF-SP-001, which cannot be used to override a cyclist who is selected based on valid selection criteria. In fact, the introductory rule to this chapter, TTCF.13.001 clearly identifies this by saying that “the Discretionary Selection Criteria shall not be used to replace any cyclists qualifying under this selection policy document…”

(Suggestion that times not used in justification)

Being a member of previous National Teams in the capacity of Team Manager, I can personally attest to the fact that Erin Hartwell’s selection are performance and time based. In addition, all times are recorded using an electronic timing system which provides an accuracy to the thousandth of a second (0.001).

At the end of every single effort, Hartwell huddles the entire team together, advises them of their times and more importantly highlights the areas of concern that he witnessed during their effort and the adjustments that are required to improve.

In recommending his teams to the Racing Committee, Hartwell always allows for members to view all of the times recorded for all efforts.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cycling coach Erin Hartwell and ex-Cycling Canada coach.
(Copyright Cycling

I have seen personally, where members of the Racing Committee have asked and have viewed the times recorded for the efforts before making their selections for National Teams. Therefore, the fact that the article could say, “Hartwell rarely uses times made by riders to justify his recommendation for selection, and committee members do not ask for any” is an outright untruthful statement.

(Anonymous Source)

This anonymous source is my greatest concern of this entire article. For clarity, the Racing Committee selected the National Team for the New Zealand and Hong Kong World Cups 5 and 6 respectively on 30 November.

On 30 November, TTCF vice-president Joseph Roberts informed Hartwell via email: “Erin, based on discussed (sic) held previously and to accommodate cost effective use of the budgets and timely submittal for tickets acquisition for World Cup V and VI, the team was selected without change inclusive of athletes and staff…”

The submission of selected names on the UCI registration application, according to the international cycling body, was to be performed during two windows of 17 December to 30 December 2018 for Cambridge, New Zealand and 17 December, 2018 to 6 January, 2019 for Hong Kong, China.

As the Racing Committee prepared to submit the selected names to the UCI registration application before the 30 December, they requested confirmation of the cyclists’ health and performance—after competing at the London and Berlin World Cups a few days prior.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip puts in the effort to stay ahead of the pack.
(Courtesy TTOC)

The Guardian article paints a picture that Hartwell only provided times and status of four cyclists and conveniently omitted Alexander, when in fact, the selection of the team was already made a month before.

He also noted that since the selected team was confirmed to him on 30 November, training plans were devised differently for two cyclists—namely Jabari Whiteman and Quincy Alexander who would have been going into a non-competitive phase—while the remaining selected four cyclists were preparing to compete at the World Cups in New Zealand and Hong Kong.

It was only after this confirmation of health and performance was provided by the national coach and 30 days following the Racing Committee’s World Cup selection that the President of the TTCF and Quincy Alexander’s uncle, Robert Farrier ‘abstained’ from a vote which already occurred a month prior.

It must be noted that information provided to me indicates that this ‘abstention’ by the President was the only noted ‘abstention’ from said vote. Farrier noted that his ‘abstention’ was on the basis of ‘lack of training data provided’.

Even without this information being provided to me, the Guardian article also states that the anonymous source abstained from the selection because “Hartwell did not supply data on the cyclists’ times”; which is eerily similar to the email from Farrier.

Photo: TTCF president Robert Farrier (right).
(Copyright SPORTT)

(Email exchange copied to the TTCF Racing Committee on 28 December 2018)

Farrier: Erin, I would like to make a more informed decision on my vote on the team selection. Could you provided (sic) training time for all the athletes in the sprint pool for the last week training session?

Hartwell: Robert, per my email from yesterday, I’ve been operating under the directive that the team had already been selected as of 30 November 2018 by the TTSF Racing Committee (RC) per the attached email messages. This was clearly communicated almost a month ago. We’re now one day from the UCI deadline to register the team for the World Cups and you’re asking for training data from this week? I’m genuinely confused by the change of direction and unclear communication from the governing body.

Data from a couple of training sessions this week will be of no value as the national team’s training has been based on two principles: 1) Periodised preparation to maximise targeted athletic performance of the selected athletes at the Cambridge and Hong Kong UCI World Cups; and 2) [to] oversee the reintegration of Jabari Whiteman and Quincy Alexander into group training for a period of two weeks in anticipation of a transition to a non-competitive phase preparatory training plan beginning on 7 January, understanding that the team for the World Cups had already been selected.

The training data you have requested at this late hour is currently at the velodrome… You’re welcome to call Joseph Roberts or Gregory D’Andrade to collect the data…

Farrier: RC, please be advised because [of] the lack of training data provided I hereby abstain from voting on athlete selection for the above caption (sic) UCI World Cups.

Photo: TTCF president Robert Farrier (right) and then general secretary Jacqueline Corbin.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

If indeed the President of the TTCF is the anonymous source of this misinformation to media outlets [regarding Hartwell’s supposed failure to provide data to the Racing Committee], it will be tantamount to an attempt to wrongfully bring his own organisation into disrepute.

If indeed he is the anonymous source, then the information provided was knowingly sent to be untrue or ignorant of the truth; both of which are dangerous, and would be scarily concerning actions of a person who holds such a position.

It will be a sad day if nepotism has seeped so deep into the fabric of a person, who was elected as a leader, that it has infected the root and has become his basis for National Team selection.

Gravely concerned,

Gary Acosta
Cycling Analyst/Former Executive member of the TTCF