In his first statement since the collapse of the Linda McCartney Pro racing team, team manager Julian Clark has given his side of events in an interview on the ProCycling website.
The interview starts with the following declaration;
“Following some ill-informed and poorly researched reports in the cycling press, regarding my role in the management of the Linda McCartney Cycling Team and sponsorship negotiations with Linda McCartney Foods (LMC Foods), I would like to make a few points crystal clear.
These reports have implied that myself, the team and its personnel have in some way contributed to the decline of British cycling; in fact the opposite is true and while I would not consider myself to be blameless for the sad collapse of the team, I want to make it clear that everything that was done was done in a sincere effort to boost the standing of road racing in Britain.”
But it soon becomes clear that he isn’t at all happy with the state of British cycling;
“Having not been to a British cycling event before I did not know what to expect, as I had only previously been involved with Motorcycle racing. After going to two Premier Calendar races, I very quickly made the decision that, in fact, I had to keep the sponsors away from races…..
If we had taken them to races where the only spectators were mainly the riders’ family or the odd sheep, they would certainly not have signed for a further three years.”
or the behaviour of his sponsors;
“Throughout November and December last year, after requests through LMC foods to set up a meeting up with the new Marketing Manager for Heinz, I finally made contact with him myself.
I called him around January 11th and talked for over 1 hour on my mobile phone. He finally told me that he would not be using the team as it “HAD TOO MUCH OF A STRONG VEGETARIAN IMAGE.” I asked him where that left me with the team — and he said take it up with Paul McCartney.”
He finishes the statement with the following apology;
“We have pushed and promoted this team and lifestyle under very stressful circumstances and with virtually no support from the company. Of course, I am very sorry for the problems it has left some riders and staff with, but it has also left myself and my family with huge financial problems.”
For the full Julian Clark approved saga, of unsigned contracts, dog in the manger sponsors, missed opportunities and never arriving cheques click onto Procycling.com.
The moral of this story?
‘Don’t count your vegeburgers before they’re cooked’.