Sunday morning’s team time trial should have been relatively straightforward: cyclists ride as a group and time keepers record the time they start and finish then, by using some simple mathematics, produce the time taken to cover the course…
First team up were Team RGB Building Services, starting at an immediate disadvantage as they were only able to field Alice Staniford and the battle-scarred Jenny Corser, the holder of the green sprints jersey. Their time of 10 minutes and 48 seconds would see Liv-AWOL, with 11:23, and the Isle Of Man team with 11:08 finishing behind them. Setting off fourth, Lovelo Squadra Donne would be the early pace setters at 10:16; their time held until Aprire-HSS set a new target of 10:13 to take the lead. Les Filles-QOM RT would then shave of a single second and record 10:12, only to have this equaled by Ford EcoBoost.
With Team Vision Innovative Leisure and Ellmore Digital unable to challenge this jointly-held mark, it was left to Cycle Team OnForm. On the course they looked good working well as a team – Lucy Harper was dropped in the last kilometre as they drove to the finish. With their crossing of the line the controversy started: they were given a time of 8:43, or around 1:29 faster than Les Filles and Team Ford EcoBoost. OnForm themselves stated that “due to the ongoing results issues,” they had arranged for a member of team staff to check times independently and, having compared these timings to records gathered by the riders’ GPS, they too had found a discrepancy, and reported it, Please see the team’s press release below for more details.
After the stage a number of discussions ensued between team managers and race organisers and one possible reason considered was that the final team had been started a minute early. Sources we spoke too stated that the time keeper was adamant that no error was made, whilst some calculations carried out by team managers showed that the missing 60 seconds would have amounted an approximate 1.5 km advantage on the road.
The issue was still not resolved when riders went to the start linefor the 4th stage in the afternoon;however, even with the addition of a minute, OnForm would have won the stage by 29 seconds with General Classification positions remaining the same after the stage.
1 Team OnForm 8’43”
=2 Les Filles-QOM 10’12”
=2 Ford Ecoboost ST
Standings after Stage 3
General Classification: Amy Hill (Team OnForm)
Juniors: Lauren Murphy (GB Cycles)
QOM: Natasha Reddy (Team Vision Innovative Leisure)
Sprint: Jenny Corser (RGB Building Supplies)
(Text and photos © Simon F. Blackwell)
Team OnForm Press Release
“There is nothing more disappointing than when great success is marred by controversy.
Cycle Team OnForm raced in 3 days of Bedford at the weekend, and through hard work and determination won the GC and Team competition. Of this there can be no doubt, however due to organisational issues at the event, each of the stage results seemed to be delayed or incorrect.
It is not the job of the competitors or the teams to provide these results, as by the very nature the organiser and race officials should, to provide impartiality.
During the TTT our riders performed fantastically but due to the ongoing results issues, we decided to have an OnForm staff member run independent timekeeping, together with data collected from Strava GPS records of the riders in the TTT. As a result of cross checking these results and comparing against the official results, we highlighted a discrepancy to the Time Keepers and race officials. This showed a significant difference. The Cycle Team OnForm TTT time by our calculations, supported by GPS data, and provided on the day was 0:09:44 for the team with one rider at 0:10:07; The official time given was 0:08:43 with one rider at 0:09:10; We believe the time keepers had the times a minute ‘out’. This is a common mistake during TT’s and is quickly rectified by looking at the time keepers notes. After highlighting the issue, the 3 Days of Bedford Organisation decided not to go with our timings, and remained with the original ones.
At Team OnForm we have staff whom work as race officials, and have involvement in other teams and clubs. We believe and promote fair play, and when we hear and see things are not right, we look to ensure the correct result is documented so that there is no ‘cry’ of foul play from our part. We were aware that a number of teams, individuals and clubs were upset with the overall results, together with a number of significant issues on the GC standings (Particularly around the Top 10 on GC) however having provided our timings we left the organisers of 3 Days of Bedford to turn the Provisional Results in to correct Confirmed Results; anticipating they would correct the error we had highlighted.
We appreciate how difficult organising an event can be as our staff also organise a number of events, however as a result of communications since between the event organiser and ourselves, we reached the disappointing decision that we should post this press release.
It is fundamentally important to us that our success is earned, and that any suggestion of poor sportspersonship is not levelled at our door.”