Cyclists claim travel is too expensive for championships

By Alan Vincent in Transport

The Steam Packet and the government have responded to claims that some cyclists are finding it too expensive to come to the island for the UK National Road Race Championships in June.

The island is due to host the event from Thursday, June 22, to Sunday, June 25.

But the owner of one team told cycling website that the expense of getting six riders, a sports director and a mechanic to the Isle of Man – ‘upwards of £1,000’ once travel, accommodation and food were factored in – has forced the team to decide to miss the round of last year’s National Series held on the island.

He said: ‘For that price we can go and do a couple of weekends in Belgium or Holland.’

But a Steam Packet spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that fares have not been increased. In fact, the rates offered to competitors and teams through the local organisers have been kept at the same level as those available for the Manx International Cycling Grand Prix held in April 2016.

‘The publicly available special offer fares for this period, compare very favourably with other Irish Sea services for this period. A snapshot taken today (February 6) shows that the lowest fare available for a ‘high’ car (one with bicycles mounted on a roof rack) and three people travelling to the Isle of Man on June 21 and returning on June 25 is £252, compared with the cost of travelling between Holyhead and Dublin on the same dates, for example, with Irish Ferries charging £419 and Stena Line £344.

‘We have offered to bring over officials and equipment as part of a sponsorship agreement. A coach booking for the event has already been discounted by some £700.’

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company chief executive Mark Woodward said: ‘It is disappointing that inaccurate and misleading statements have been circulated.

‘For absolute clarity, the Steam Packet Company has not raised fares for the period of this event and very competitive fares are available to book now for anyone wishing to travel to watch the racing. We are working hard to support the event through the provision of preferential rates for competitors and assistance with transport for officials and equipment through a sponsorship agreement.

‘It would be a great shame if people were put off visiting due to misleading statements.’

A spokesman for the Department of Economic Development said: ‘The department was made aware of a story over the weekend on a cycling news website in which the owner of one of the smaller cycling teams had expressed reservations about the costs of sending the whole team to participate in the championships.

‘We are not aware of any operators or suppliers increasing prices during the period covered by the championships.’

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Manx born (formerl CV) · 196 days ago · Report

Well if it is on a website it must be true must it not? I think no I will believe the IOMSP version

EXPATSCOT · 196 days ago · Report

The team complaining must be on a shoe string budget in the first place.

pedrocabmann · 196 days ago · Report

Good luck for this event it's good for the Island

ET · 196 days ago · Report

In reality it doesn't really what Mark Woodward, the DoED or anybody else living here thinks on the matter. It's the perception potential visitors hold via their own inquiries and experiences. Mine tell me we're ludicrously expensive with limited options or choice. But we're accustomed to it.

PeanutButter · 196 days ago · Report

I'm having trouble believing that the cost of travelling is a reason they don't want to come when the bikes are 5 figure sums. Nevermind the rest....

Clock Weights · 196 days ago · Report

Oh dear, How sad, Never mind......

· 196 days ago · Report

I stand corrected on the reciprocal health agreement. According to Harwick to the Hook of Holland for 4 people and a tall car is £315 return (economy option) for the same weekend.

· 196 days ago · Report

@Spook. For TWO weekends? I REALLY doubt a national level cycling team is going to camp or stay at an F1 hotel. And food for six athletes and an additional two adults? Also, don't forget that The Netherlands and Belgium don't have a reciprocal health agreement, so additional cost there.

· 196 days ago · Report

£1000 for two weekends in The Netherlands or Belgium for eight people, including travel (for vehicles and bikes), accommodation and food? Rubbish. Even if you take the GBP EUR rate from 2015.

OldMann · 196 days ago · Report

Correction eight people

OldMann · 196 days ago · Report

1000 pounds for six people over five days. Sounds like a good deal to me.

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