Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, second from right, flew in business class to the World Cups in Australia, while the senior women’s team was in economy class.
The French cycling federation has been criticized for flying its older male riders in business class to the World Championships in Australia, while the women’s team made the 19-hour journey in economy class.
The federation’s technical director Christophe Manin said the move was based on money and the male riders having a better chance of winning.
“We don’t have the resources to get everyone into the business,” Manin told AFP.
“Some countries, like Ireland, have decided not to take part in the World Cup,” Manin said as a way of justification.
“We were wondering if we should take all the categories, especially the juniors. We made it. But we don’t have the resources to get everyone in the business.”
Nine members of the men’s team, including two-time defending champion Julian Alaphilippe, were traveling on business while the rest of the group, including seven female riders, male and female riders at the junior events and support staff, were traveling on business.
Manin did not make the trip to Wollongong.
“We have been world champions for men for two years. We’re really going there to win, whereas we’re more of an underdog with the girls,” he said.
“If we had to do the Mountain Bike World Championships in Australia with the same economic decision, we would put the two girls in the economy and the boys in the economy.”
France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is a four-time cross country world champion, while Loana Lecomte is a European champion.
In an exclusive interview with ITV News, transgender track cyclist Emily Bridges says much of the research data cited to exclude her from participating in women’s cycling is “simply not relevant” to her.
Team manager Thomas Voeckler, who has traveled economy, told AFP: “I am focused on the sport and have no energy to lose as long as the French team’s riders are proud to wear the colors of the jersey.”
Cycling New Zealand’s top cyclists were told last month that they would have to pay their own costs if they wanted to compete in the World Championships.
WorldTour veteran Sam Bewley said cost was one of the main reasons he decided against his last World Championships before retiring from professional cycling.