EDIT: Venkat/Shankar : The point here is that if these weekend cyclist had the time to train and get back in shape then it would be fair for them to compete with the sponsored riders who are doing this full time. Note here that guys like me would personally like to ride/race with these sponsored riders and learn so its not that I agree with Rajesh about putting them in a different category but his remark is not derogatory.
you seem to contradict you own statements. would like to know what do you propose in such a situation.
1. I have the same time available as you guys to train. I've an 8hrs job daily and same is for Naveen and Lokesh too who work at Wheelsports.
2. We're professionally sponsored. We get the equipment, money to train and participate in races. The riders aren't getting salaries but their food, accomodation, travel is all being taken care of. From next year they will get salaries too.
I know i'll get 100 digs at what i say here , but i have to say this. There are levels of Pro.
UCI Pro has 3 levels - World Tour, Pro Conti, Conti.
Then come the regional pro teams made of Cat1-2 riders, that are professional sponsored. We come in that area.
I work as a Software Professional in industry - my company gives me the equipment, time, training and payment necessary to do my job. How well i do my job compared to others decides my pay or my worth next year. This is very similar to what i'm getting from this cycling team. I owe it to my team who're supporting me fully and i would not feel its right if i call myself as amateur. That's my opinion. We all know none of us is as strong as any Pro Continental or World Tour Teams. But its a start and it will grow into a Continental team sans CFI India next year. We have Italians on this forum who would compare us with amateurs at Europe - let me say the cycling scene there is much different than here. Out here India doesnt have its own naitonal team! Can you believe that? No team in India is UCI recognized. CFI isn't doing anything. No team was professionally sponsored till now.
3. We have aspirations to apply to UCI Continental Team next year and the only reason we couldn't do it this year is because of lack of funds. You just need to show ~30-40k in funds to support a Continental Team. Rider salaries have no minimum limit for Conti team. As far as we're not UCI Continental Team, it is NOT ILLEGAL to participate in any club races. We do it for experience because there are very few national races in the country.
4. Resume building - i have to say not everyone was present at the launch where the team's resume was spoken. Guys seem to have missed that we have medals at the National Championships. Lokesh was Bronze Medal at Road National Championships, other guys from Bijapur are U-19 National road Champions and National TTT and TT Champions! I'm a very modest state road and TT champion. We're not beating our chests from wins at BBCH, HCCC races.
That said, if only 5 races are avl in India at national level, what does our team do?
Regarding safety of other riders in HCC and BBCh, i leave that to the race organizers.
Speak as much as u want guys - its free will and an open forum. I do not have time or energy to reply to everything or participate in fights - i've better things to do in my life. The team doesnt believe in talking as much as riding. Soon you shall see some good results from us at a level you are expecting.