Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A look inside the FQSC

Photo: Pasquale Stalteri Photography / All Rights Reserved

What does the FQSC do?
A look inside the Fédé…
by John Symon
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Recent comments by some Miroir du Cyclisme (MdC) readers included several criticisms of the Fédération québécoise des sports cyclistes (FQSC). So MdC contacted Louis Barbeau, director of the non-profit group which has governed cycling events in this province since 1960, to get his perspective on these.

In terms of complaints against the FQSC’s specific handling of any issue, Barbeau would like to hear what people say, but simply asks that the public use the FQSC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) as the forum. This event is held in November. “This is where we can go over events from the past year and look for places where we can improve,” he explains. “We certainly listen to anybody who makes good suggestions.”

“There have to be rules to govern cycling events or else we would have anarchy,” Barbeau told us in response to general criticisms that the FQSC is too bureaucratic. “To ensure a full calendar of events [editor’s note: the FQSC with a staff of 14 oversees more than 400 events annually] we have to work to protect cyclists and organizers with rules.” He also points out that some well known cycling events have been operating for many years: The Tour de Beauce for 26 years; the Tour de l’Abitibi for 44 years; and the Mardis Cyclistes for 35 years. “If these events have been running for that long, we must be doing something right,” contends Barbeau.

“It’s not easy to put on an event,” continues Barbeau. “To organizers, we provide as much support as we can. For cyclists, we set maximum registration costs that can be charged, but no minimum.” There was recently a proposed Ultimate XC event where the organizer seemed interested in profiteering. “But most of our events are organized by bike clubs,” maintains Barbeau.

On the specific point of ‘the high costs’ charged to cycling events by security and police forces, Barbeau says that Quebec should consider itself lucky. He points to the Canadian National Championships in Ontario last year and the difficulties organizers had there with reluctant municipalities and high policing costs. Those costs forced the relocation of some events.

“Here, the Sureté du Québec (SQ) police officers love to participate in cycling events, for instance riding motorbikes in front of the peloton. We had one event last year, l’Échappée Belle, where the SQ was inundated with requests to participate with competing events. The SQ is really stretched, but they came through to help us. The FQSC writes an article every year for the SQ newsletter to express our appreciation for the help that they provide.”

“Very few events pay for all policing costs,” Barbeau says. “Most organizers could not afford to pay for those costs. With the Classique Montreal—Quebec Louis Garneau, for example, some of the SQ officers would have to be paid double or triple-time for their work. We simply wouldn’t be able to hold that kind of event without very strong support from the SQ. They could easily charge us some $10,000 for their work there.”

“The density of automobile traffic has increased over recent years making it more difficult to ensure the safety of riders," notes Barbeau. “So we now ask organizers to provide their own security. But the cycling community should be very thankful for just how supportive the SQ, MTQ, and municipalities are towards our sport.”

Barbeau also suspects that many people have a poor understanding of the role played by the FQSC. There was some question about how the federation should remove ‘a convicted doper’ from the management of one Quebec team, but Barbeau points to the UCI rule on that point. While the FQSC has the power to remove those convicted of doping offences from the summer of 2011 forward, it does not have the power to apply such a rule retroactively.

“The vast majority of organizers in the Quebec cycling community appreciate what we are doing in the FQSC,” responds Barbeau when asked about how the federation is perceived. “They understand what the issues are and realize that we are doing the best that we can. The FQSC received a Maurice award for the ‘Federation of the year’ in 2009 by Sports Quebec in recognition of the work done with cycling.”

André Michaud, the president of the FQSC, then publicly thanked the employees of the federation as well as the cyclists, organizers, partners, coaches, media, commissaires, and volunteers “who all make up this big team.” He went to say that the recognition given to the FQSC is to be shared with all the artisans who are working for the development of cycling in Quebec.

John Symon

2009 FQSC communiqué (in French):


*Editors Note: It is interesting to consult the Union Cycliste International (UCI) website to see where various UCI-sanctioned events take place in 2012 in the different disciplines of cycling. 

The 2 WorldTour races in Quebec City and Montreal (Sep 7 & 9) are the only 2 such events in North America. The Coupe des Nations Ville Saguenay (May 30—June 3) and the Tour de Beauce (June 12—17) are the only 2 elite men’s events in Canada.
 

On the elite women’s calendar, the Chrono Gatineau (may 19) and Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau (May 21) are the only 2 events in Canada and there are only 2 other events in North America.

With paracycling, the Défi Sportif (April 27—28) and the Baie-Comeau    UCI World Cup are the only 2 events in Canada. The Mont Ste-Anne World Cup (June 23—24) is the only mountain bike event listed in Canada.

That the UCI accorded so many prestigious events to Quebec could be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the FQSC.

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