The Black Cyclists Network is under pressure, with sponsors distancing themselves from the organization amid allegations of intimidation and harassment by founder Mani Arthur.
Weekly Cycling revealed on Friday that Arthur, who founded the community club in 2018, has been charged with improper conduct towards the junior members of the amateur racing team.
At least four of BCN’s sponsors have responded to the allegations, with nutrition partner Science in Sport cutting all ties, while Zwift has suspended support until the case is resolved.
BCN claimed it had asked British Cycling to investigate and that no disciplinary action would be taken as a result.
“We can confirm that we have terminated the company’s relationship with BCN. This decision was not taken lightly,” a statement from Science in Sport read at Weekly Cycling.
“We strongly support the encouragement of wide participation in sport and share BCN’s goals for greater inclusion in cycling. However, the deeply troubling situation within the club and the breach of trust forced us to take this serious step. “
Online training platform Zwift made its own statement, saying it remains “committed to the cause” of promoting diversity in cycling, but needs to “pause” its involvement with BCN .
“Zwift does not tolerate bullying, hate speech, harassment, threats or personal attacks – in the game or elsewhere,” a spokesperson said. “We have been made aware of allegations of intimidation against members of the Black Cyclists Network. We take all allegations seriously and have made the decision to suspend our activity with BCN while we investigate further.”
Two other sponsors from Dhb and Prime Bike Components have also confirmed that they are “investigating and taking the matter very seriously”.
BCN was established by Arthur in 2018 with the aim of promoting cycling among people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The organization has grown significantly as the Black Lives Matter movement gained wide recognition in 2020, attracting a host of notable sponsors. Last year he launched a racing team to compete on the UK national circuit, with plans for international expansion in the future.
Details of the allegations surrounding Arthur have not been disclosed. Cylingnews contacted Arthur, who has yet to respond to a request for comment. This article will be immediately updated if a response is received.
A spokesperson for the Black Cyclists’ Network said Weekly Cycling: “When concerns about the harassment were raised with the senior management of the Black Cyclists’ Network (BCN), BCN contacted British Cycling to conduct an independent investigation into the harassment allegations.
“British Cycling concluded that no disciplinary action will be taken and made recommendations that BCN is implementing. BCN has formed a committee and senior club members will undergo training to better understand how to handle contentious situations with older members. later this year as part of continuous learning and development. “