Kiwi track cyclist Dylan Kennett has been left frustrated after being told he was ineligible to compete at the world championships in Poland just hours before he was due to leave.
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was preparing for this month’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Pruszków when he says he received the “bad news” that he wasn’t eligible to compete due to a technicality.
“Frustrating to get the bad news this morning (1 hour before I was going to leave to go to the airport to fly to Poland) that I am not eligible to race the 2019 UCI World Track Cycling Championships due to not competing at any World Cups this season,” Kennett posted on his Facebook page.
“I believe this is a new rule for this season. I’ve been pushing through a very painful knee injury I’ve had since November to gain selection so makes it more harsh missing out like this.
“This is my first world champs I’ve not ridden since being in the men’s Team Pursuit squad from 2014 onward.”
Cycling New Zealand had applied for dispensation for Kennett – who missed this season’s World Cups in Cambridge and Hong Kong due to injuries – to be able to compete in Poland which was rejected by cycling’s world governing body UCI.
In a media release, Cycling NZ confirmed that they were only informed of UCI’s decision regarding the exemption today.
“We’ve done all we can to get Dylan included but the UCI has turned down the exemption request and their decision is final,” said Cycling New Zealand acting chief executive Jacques Landry.
“We’ve been pushing the UCI for an answer before the team was to leave the country. It’s unfortunate that we only received it at the 11th hour. Even though Dylan had been apprised of his status from the onset, as well as our measures to make him eligible for competition, it is still disheartening when a rider cannot be part of a squad competing at the world championships in an Olympic event.”
Kennett, who won the team pursuit gold and silver medals at the track cycling world championships in 2015 and 2017 respectively, did try to stay positive and wished the rest of his New Zealand track cycling team good luck.
“On a positive note I get to rest my knee up sooner and the whole NZ track team is in great condition so I look forward to seeing them all tear it up over in Poland, especially the men’s TP squad, all the best over there!”
Kennett is the latest high-profile Kiwi athlete to be denied the opportunity to compete at the upcoming world championships after former Olympic rower Hamish Bond missed out on selection to compete in the individual pursuit.
Bond was hoping to challenge for the rainbow jersey – even offering to pay his own way there – but his national record time of 4 minutes 12.436 seconds, which he set at the national championships earlier this month, fell out of Cycling NZ’s selection window.
Given their limited resources and priority towards Olympic Games events, Cycling NZ decided against selecting anyone for the individual pursuit, much to the rowing great’s frustrations.
“I guess the point that irked me is I think I’m now the second fastest pursuit rider this season and I’m not allowed at the world championships,” Bond told Stuff. “No effort was made to get me there. Why have the world champs if you can’t get the best people along to compete?”
The 2019 UCI Track Cycling World Championships begins on February 28.