The French team defended their decision to send their men’s and women’s teams to the UCI Road World Championships in different classes.
Two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe and eight of his teammates from the elite men’s team received business class tickets for a long flight to Australia.
Meanwhile, the rest of the selection, including elite women, returned to economy class.
The agreements caused controversy, but the French Federation confirmed and defended its decision.
“In fact, we confirm. It was the choice of the technical management and the French Cycling Federation. A confirmed choice,” said a spokesman for West France. (will open in a new tab) newspaper.
“Everyone traveled in economy class, except for the elite men. Why did we do it? Because this year the men will defend the title again. And above all because it was necessary to make an economic choice.
“The journey is very long, it is expensive, and if we wanted to take everyone, we had to make a choice. And if everyone was going to do business, a lot of people would have to stay at home. »
The 2022 World Championships in Australia, half the world from the heart of European professional cycling, has given many federations financial and logistical headaches, especially with the rapid rise in travel costs following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The costs were considered by some to be prohibitive as Ireland chose not to participate at all. Meanwhile, representatives of Belgian cycling have indicated that the overall costs have tripled compared to the European World Cup, even with limited resources.
Belgium did not send its business class pilots, and Wout van Aert said he paid 8,000 euros out of his own pocket to upgrade his ticket.
“Some countries, like Ireland, have decided not to participate in the World Cup. We wondered if we should take all categories, especially juniors. We did it. But we don’t have the means to put everyone into action,” he added. French technical director Christophe Manin told AFP later on Saturday.
“In men, we were world champions for two years. We really go there to win, but among women we are rather outsiders.
“If we had the World Mountain Bike Championship in Australia with the same economic choice, we would send two girls into business and boys into the economy.”
Alafilpp leads the men’s team in search of a third title in a row, while Juliette Labus and Evita Music are the protagonists of the women’s team.