RACES: OFM Winner Forfeits Prize Money

The cycling fraternity is up in arms over the fact that the winner of the OFM Classic had to forfeit his prize money. Bicycling chatted to the organisers to get their side of the story.

A couple of the winners from Sunday’s MTN OFM Classic, including the overall race winner, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, had to forfeit their prize money because they weren’t at prize giving. Van Rensburg in particular had to rush off to catch a plane to represent South Africa at the African Continental Champs.

A number of disgruntled cyclists tweeted asking the race organisers for a response to not presenting the winners with their earnings. So what do the organiser’s of the MTN OFM Classic have to say?

Why did the prize giving take place four hours after the winner’s finished?

The MTN OFM Classic official race prize giving has taken place at 1pm every year for the past eleven years. The official race prize giving is an important conclusion to the day where we recognise the category winners of the race in full view of the cycling public, the media, the sponsors and partners of the race. The official race prize giving gives back deserved value to the sponsors of the race and cyclists of the race who are not privy to seeing the professionals. This is the opportunity to see in person the professionals who won the race they just took part in.

Why do the prize winners have to forfeit their winnings?

The MTN OFM Classic race rules clearly stipulates …”Attendance at the official race prize giving is required by all cyclists who have won either prize money or individual races. No trophies or prize money will be handed to winners before the official race prize giving. Prize money and/or trophies will be forfeited if cyclist are not present at the official race prize giving. For Elite cyclists (both men and ladies), the cyclists first three positions in the overall men and ladies categories will be required to be part of the official media prize giving within thirty minutes after the ladies race has been completed. Trophy handover and prize monies will only be handed over at the official race prize giving at 1pm”… These are race rules which have been in place for the past eleven years. The professional teams are well aware of this. We feel strongly about these rules to give back deserved value to the sponsors and partners of the race and cyclists of the race who are not privy to seeing the professionals. All forfeited winnings after Cycling SA deductions and Free State Cycling deductions will be donated to the charitable institutions who benefit from the presentation of the MTN OFM Classic. This year; the Qhubeka project will benefit financially.

Are you not willing to make an arrangement in special circumstances?

The MTN OFM Classic is open to special arrangements with professional teams should the request be made in good time and through the correct channels. In the case of [Reinardt Janse van Rensburg] the race was informed twelve hours before the race took place that he would even take part in the race and then need to leave. He only entered the race the Saturday afternoon before race day; as a late entry and substitution for another rider in his team. We find that unfair on the race organisation, the sponsors and partners to put us in such a predicament. The team management could have been more accommodating to the race in this regard and informed us in good time and an arrangement could have been made and the sport we all love would not have to be dragged through the mud and the image of the race possibly tarnished. The MTN OFM Classic is a well organised event with good people behind the scenes who work ten months a year for the love of the sport – they deserve better than what has transpired. It is regrettable that a South African champion is at the centre of a cycling issue that has surfaced not for the first time.

We feel professional teams should respect the rules of this and all races. In the next two weeks the MTN OFM Classic will host a meeting with two of the professional teams to address the issues that affect both events and the professional cyclists and the need from both sides to find common ground that is good for the professional cycling community and what is good for the events.

What do you think of the organiser’s rules of having to be at prize giving to receive for your winnings?
Desere Girdlestone
OFM Winner Forfeits Prize Money

0 Responses to RACES: OFM Winner Forfeits Prize Money

  1. Anonymous November 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    I think it’s a disgrace. The winners earned that money! They should be given it irrespective of whether they are at prize giving or not. It works like that at other races I’m sure.

  2. Anonymous November 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    I disagree. Rules are there for a reason. If the winners didnt have to stick around there would be no-one at prize giving! The organisers have to get as much leverage out of the event as possible. The pros have to realise that is just another part of their job! I do agree that in special circumstances it should be allowed…

  3. freddiev November 9, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    This is a disgrace for the Sponsors, especially that it is MTN that sponsors the race and it was MTN who won the race. Now the hardheaded organizers has disgraced the sport we loved.

    Special circumstances should always be allowed

  4. Anonymous November 9, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Well, there are allways two sides to a story. In my opinion it seems thst there was a lack of communication between the team and the organisers. However I don’t
    believe that a proffesional athlete should be penalize because he had other commitments. With the Tour also being cancelled, this is another blemish on cycling in SA.

    At the SA Rugby awards John Mitchell also wasn’t present to recieve his trophy as coach of the year, but he didn’t forfeit it. Couldn’t the manager of the MTN team recieved the price on his behalf?

  5. Avatar of Frederick Botha
    Frederick Botha November 9, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    “….In the case of [Reinardt Janse van Rensburg] the race was informed twelve hours before the race took place that he would even take part in the race and then need to leave. He only entered the race the Saturday afternoon before race day; as a late entry and substitution for another rider in his team. We find that unfair on the race organisation, the sponsors and partners to put us in such a predicament. The team management could have been more accommodating to the race in this regard and informed us in good time and an arrangement could have been made and the sport we all love would not have to be dragged through the mud and the image of the race possibly tarnished. …. “

    Must the team management now decide before the race who is going to win and inform the race organisors?

    Reinhardt worked hard for the win and should get his winning money and trophy

  6. Avatar of Wynij
    Wynij November 9, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    These guys are pro’s, and it’s their job. The management of the most successful team in SA could have done more, I’m sure. And made arrangements ahead of such an issue arising.
    Allthough it’s great for the riders to represent SA and their team at as many races as possible, it once again is their profession and certain things are expected of them.

    If the team wants to be successful overseas, they should do their best at HOME first.

    At the Tour de France this year, the commentators stated more than a couple of times, who is the last guy off of the mountain??? the guy on top of the podium.
    (which is not fair neccessarily, but that is ASO (international) standards)

  7. Mallo November 11, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Pro clubs always have this issue as well asthe isssue of racing with timming chips even though the rules are clear for the particular race.

    Why not allow the pro races to start at 10am with no interruption to the route as well as the finish area which will be cleared by then.

    Avoids this isssue as well as the Sun City mess with the ladies. More people are then around to watch the pro finish which does not happen often as most of the social riders are still on the route currently

  8. Avatar of Dave Jones
    Dave Jones November 11, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    There will always be exceptions that should be handled by reasonable people acting fairly to all concerned.

    What about organisers who miss their comittment to the published time line? Delayed or late prize givings are often poorly attended and substantially reduce the sponsors public exposure.

  9. Anonymous November 11, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Nobody is bigger than any sport! Not even the pro’s. The rules are clear and not in dispute. These races are only possible because of sponsers and we should grant them the opportunity to get the media coverage. You either abide by the rules or don’t partake in the event.

    No exceptions!

  10. Leon November 12, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    You enter a race (or any competition) subject to the applicable rules. If you don’t agree with the rules, don’t enter – it’s as simple as that! What mileage does the race and sponsors get if the winner isn’t there for the handover and photo shoot?

    The prize money does not exist just for the win – it is also a recognition of the fact that the sponsors and organisers can (and do) get coverage out of it for months thereafter, and are allowed to use the winner’s photo etc in their advertising.

    As for the comment about John Mitchell, he didn’t enter a competition, and clearly the rules applicable to the SARU awards don’t require him to be present.

  11. Anonymous November 14, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    Race organisers can easily accept entries and the money that comes with it but wont ‘help’ when you have a situation. If the OFM organisers had a problem with the substitution and ‘late’ notification that the cyclist would not be able to attend prize giving if he needed to, why did they accept his entry and allow him to start? Why not tell him before he starts that there is a problem? Now they blame the cyclist?

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