UPDATED: Rissveds Excluded From XC World Cup Because Of… Clothes?

by
August 16, 2017

UPDATE Friday 18th August: Statement added from Swedish Cycling – See end of article

Due to a sponsor conflict, Olympic Champion Jenny Rissveds will not be competing in Cairns next month at the XC World Championship. The issue seems to be that Swedish Cycling signed a contract with POC that all Swedish athletes would be wearing POC kit, but Jenny has existing sponsorship deals that dictate she wear Scott helmets and Oakley glasses.

Jenny Rissveds Says

Rissveds has issued a statement via her Instagram account:

Hello, it's me. Messy times at the moment, no, actually not just at the moment. This has been an ongoing thing since February last year when my name got sold and contracts were unluckily signed above my head. I don't wanna hang out anybody or throw shit on anybody, that's not who I am. I'm the last one in this war who should excuse myself or apologize, but however I wanna apologize in advance to you who actually are innocent, but will get in trouble because of politics, people who are weak and people who are too proud to swallow their pride. Please, I beg you all out there to not throw shit at POC, UCI or anyone else who actually TRIED to solve the problem and who TRIED to help myself, my team and my Swedish riding colleagues out of this. It's not about which products are the esthetically nicest, it's not about my team making money out of this, it's not about the Swedish cycling federation in general and it's not about me. This is about so much more. Either way we are all gonna lose in the end of this story, but it's fair to say I'm the one who lost the most the last one and a half year. I feel sad, I feel used and if it wouldn't be for the people around me, who's fighting day and night for my rights, I would have been deeply worried about my future. Either you take your part, you stay natural and watch it from the outside or you don't give a shit about this whole mess. But what's the most important for me to know is that all the people who brought me all the way here will bring me even further and I know that they will always keep my back, no matter what. I'm sure the each of you who had the time to read all the way down here also know who's having my back and who's not having my back in this conflict. Peace. @scottmtbracing @bikeonscott @oakleybike @uci_cycling @pocsports @swecycling

A post shared by Jenny Rissveds (@jennyrissveds) on

“Hello, it’s me. Messy times at the moment, no, actually not just at the moment. This has been an ongoing thing since February last year when my name got sold and contracts were unluckily signed above my head. I don’t wanna hang out anybody or throw shit on anybody, that’s not who I am. I’m the last one in this war who should excuse myself or apologize, but however I wanna apologize in advance to you who actually are innocent, but will get in trouble because of politics, people who are weak and people who are too proud to swallow their pride. Please, I beg you all out there to not throw shit at POC, UCI or anyone else who actually TRIED to solve the problem and who TRIED to help myself, my team and my Swedish riding colleagues out of this. It’s not about which products are the esthetically nicest, it’s not about my team making money out of this, it’s not about the Swedish cycling federation in general and it’s not about me. This is about so much more. Either way we are all gonna lose in the end of this story, but it’s fair to say I’m the one who lost the most the last one and a half year. I feel sad, I feel used and if it wouldn’t be for the people around me, who’s fighting day and night for my rights, I would have been deeply worried about my future. Either you take your part, you stay natural and watch it from the outside or you don’t give a shit about this whole mess. But what’s the most important for me to know is that all the people who brought me all the way here will bring me even further and I know that they will always keep my back, no matter what. I’m sure the each of you who had the time to read all the way down here also know who’s having my back and who’s not having my back in this conflict.
Peace.”

Team Scott says

Meanwhile in an interview with Pinkbike, Scott team manager Thomas Frischknecht claims that he brokered a compromise solution with Swedish Cycling over the sponsorship conflict.

Short term, talking with the president of Swedish cycling last year, I solved the problem saying, “Okay for the European Championships in Sweden we let Jenny compete in a POC helmet as this is was on POC’s home soil. For the rest of the year – World Championships and Olympics – she’ll ride whatever she is sponsored to ride, and he agreed to this.”

However, he claims that subsequently Swedish Cycling insisted that for Rissveds to race for her country she would still have to sign the new contract that required her to wear full POC kit. The Scott team advised Rissveds not to sign the contract, which they claim would break European contract law. This has lead to Rissveds omission from the squad.

Frischknecht claims they reached out to the UCI for clarification on the matter of sponsorship contracts and expectations but none came.

POC says

POC also issued a statement indicating they’re willing to step aside in individual cases to allow athletes to honour existing contracts:

“We have shown our flexibility and willingness to find the best solution for all, most recently by agreeing that some athletes at the Olympics could chose to use their team sponsors equipment, instead of POC. Without hesitation we are willing to consider all possibilities and avenues to ensure that Jenny Rissveds and other athletes are free to compete at the Championships and welcome the chance to support our athletes.”

The UCI says

via GIPHY

Update: Swedish Cycling say

(Hat tip to Rickmeister for pointing to the Swedish Cycling website below).

Swedish Cycling have issued two statements, only in Swedish. Bear in mind that no one at Singletrack can read Swedish and they’ve been fed through Google Translate. In the first (Google Translate link), among other things Anders Bromée says:

I prefer nothing but our best riders to participate in the national team’s activities. But when their big and resourceful pro team tries to exceed their rights it becomes tough. […]

As a sports federation we represent over 48,000 members and much of what SCF receives through sponsors goes to developing young people and juniors in Swedish cycling. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we respect our sponsorship agreements so that we can continue to work with, for example, Youth camps as well as organize landslags and development camps.”

Subsequently, the organisation has issued this statement (Google Translate link) in response to it becoming news, in which they acknowledge POC’s willingness to be flexible, and add:

SCF’s agreement with POC contains more than just material support for the national team. The essence of the agreement is a long-term cooperation project, where landscape cyclists in all branches make regular evaluations of the equipment so that it develops in the desired direction. Cyclists must be able to compete safely with technically advanced products for maximum protection. Both POC and SCF are proud and convinced that the Swedish national team can perform at world level with equipment designed by close cooperation.

“The federation has chosen POC as a sponsor, because their work is pervaded by security, performance and innovation. Furthermore, the company is founded in Sweden as an additional guarantee of genuine commitment to Swedish cycling.

So, Swedish Cycling seem to be doubling down on insistence that Swedish riders race in POC, though it’s important to not get hung up on bits of specific wording when it comes to text that’s been through software translation.

Our View

The whole situation seems like an abject failure to negotiate, with it clear from Jenny’s statement that there are good people on all sides, but unfortunately it doesn’t reflect that well on any of the brands involved.

A dispute over clothing is a really sad reason to end up not competing, and we really feel for Jenny. Imagine being someone who’s willing to exclude an Olympic champion from a team, because of something like this? It seems extremely shortsighted to us. And above all it’s surely about time the UCI stepped in and cleared things up for everyone.

This is the bike Jenny Rissveds rode to XC victory at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

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