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Two organisers' legal battle to hold a sportive at the same time

ITP Events Ltd and Lincoln Grand Prix both claim rights to the Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive

Two companies are battling it out to hold a sportive on the same day, on overlapping routes starting and finishing in the same place.

ITP events and the organisers of the Lincoln Grand Prix both claim rights to a sportive held on the weekend of the Lincoln Grand Prix, on Saturday 14 May, but one will have to give way due to what is being described as the "physical impossibility"of them both being held together.

The annual Lincoln Grand Prix (GP) event is a 60 year old elite race, but the Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive was started, and has been run, by a separate company, ITP Events Ltd., for five years. Now, however, the new Grand Prix organiser wants to bring the sportive under the same banner.

British Cycling calls for regulation of sportives after Yorkshire route clash (+ video)

Ian Penrose, Director of ITP Events Ltd, who have run the Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive for five years, told the sportive was created independently of the GP and was part of ITP's portfolio of sportives as well as a way for the Lincoln Grand Prix to run the professional race, via a levy paid by sportive entry fees.

He said: "We have put a lot of investment into the event. I'm a small business, nobody's making a fortune but we have transferred quite a lot of profit out of the events each year to the Grand Prix."

He claims the rights to the sportive event are his, something the new organiser of the Lincoln Grand Prix contests. However, although solicitors are involved over who does own the rights, the decision over who can close the roads for a cycle event is ultimately up to the local council.

Penrose said: "These things are run on public highways but there is nothing that we can do to stop people from using the public highway and we wouldn't want to stop people using it. There's obviously a conversation to be had with the authorities on who uses what roads but we feel that we have got a strong case for prior use: we have used that route for five years and we are just carrying on business as usual."

Penrose says he has built up the sportive from scratch and is determined to keep running it.

"In the first few years we have done the hard miles, we have done the hard work and that is why we aren't going to give it up; we have built it up from literally nothing," he said.

Dan Ellmore, the new organiser of the Lincoln Grand Prix, says ITP's agreement was a verbal one made with former British Cycling president Ian Emmerson, who ran the event for more than half a century and who stepped down after the road national championships this year, held at the Lincoln GP. Now Ellmore is in charge, he is keen to bring the sportive under the Grand Prix umbrella, as part of the new Lincoln Festival of Cycling.

He said: "Lincoln Grand Prix is the name on the elite race, which is my event. All we have done is say [to ITP]: 'Thank you, and from 2016 your ride would be part of the Lincoln Grand Prix event'."

"Effectively the use of the word Lincoln Grand Prix was what the [sportive] levy was being paid for and without that association it would have just been an event in Lincoln."

Ellmore claims the only intellectual property right ITP holds is the route, and that though his route overlaps in places, and starts and finishes in the same place, the two are different. However, he says, the two events cannot both run together; one will have to move.

He said: "It is a physical impossibility for the two events to exist in the same time, same place, same day. One event will have to move and the professional cycle race connected to the Lincoln Festival of cycling weekend includes the Lincoln Sportive."

"Depending on the council, who decide on the road closures, and the venue, one will move because they can't be on the same ride on the same day."

He said: "If the ITP event goes ahead with the race on that day the whole weekend will have to move."

British Cycling has previously called for regulation and co-ordination of sportive events after clashes between two separate events occurred in Yorkshire last year.

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RickLister | 8 years ago

The OFFICIAL event is there to raise funds for the weekend of racing, the unofficial event is there to raise funds for a individual. 
The unofficial event is NOTHING to do with the Lincoln GP and isn't really allowed to be using the Lincoln GP name. 
The road closures are for the races ie the official Lincoln GP events so how can the unofficial  sportive be run on the closed roads which are closed to all traffic except official race vehicles and riders entered in the races. I use the word races there and not sportive as it is not a race. 

Doesn't it make you wonder how suddenly the press has got hold of it especially as it seems to be very one sided towards the organising company of the unofficial event.

Notice there is a lot of mentions here of the word unofficial..

They were told a while back that they would not be given the rights to promote the sportive associated with the GP for 2016, some things end and this is one of them but what I would like to see is proof of the £25000 that he says on Facebook  he has donated to the event as the numbers dont stack up based on numbers prior to this year

Paul J | 8 years ago
1 like

"Intellectual property" on the route? What, how? You can't copyright or patent or trademark a route along the roads! That smells like a load of bollocks.

GEXFSR | 8 years ago
1 like

This article should be re-titled:

"Man from Lincoln who runs no Sportives but runs a GrandPrix being challenged by man from Loughborough who runs lots of Sportives - who is being greedy? You decide".....

MamilMan | 8 years ago

Just shows that those who run sportives are in it for ££££££££££.


Not sure where the 'legal battle' comes in here as no mention of courts.


Perhaps the council could organise some sort of cycling based pagga between the two sides and whoever wins gets the councils nod to proceed.

Critchio | 8 years ago
1 like

Daft. One side of this appears to me to put greed and personal gain way ahead of the ethos of British cycling.

Yorky-M | 8 years ago

"Now Ellmore is in charge, he is keen" to be greedy and want it all

philly replied to Yorky-M | 8 years ago
1 like

mylesrants wrote:

"Now Ellmore is in charge, he is keen" to be greedy and want it all

How can Ellmore be greedy when the Lincoln GP is a not for profit organisation?

ITP have, over the last few weeks messed about insomuch as a week ago, this event of theirs was under a different name with a different date! 7 May The Michaelgate Sportive. So people were booking for the 7th and now their event has moved! How confusing is that!

ITPevents wrote:

the sportive was created independently of the GP

I would not really agree with this. Surely the reason this sportive was created was to piggy back off the popularity and reputation of The Lincoln Grand Prix.

If Mr Penrose and ITP PAY the Lincoln GP to be able to run an 'official' event linked to the pro race, that doesn't mean they own the right to run it every year does it?

That would be like Pierce Brosnan suing the producers of James Bond because they'd decided to use Daniel Craig instead!

Organisations change and evolve. With new management comes change and unfortuneatley this has been blown out of proportion!

Surely it's the actual pro race that is important here and not a public ride!

mike the bike | 8 years ago

Seems to me some heads need banging together here.  I would do it myself but that would mean going to Lincoln which is a step too far for a southerner.

Gus T replied to mike the bike | 8 years ago
1 like

mike the bike wrote:

Seems to me some heads need banging together here.  I would do it myself but that would mean going to Lincoln which is a step too far for a southerner.

What do you mean, Lincoln is in the south , well it is from wher I live:-)

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