February 23, 2016 (Milton, ON) – Tonight could be the start of a whole new ballgame for track cycling according to former U.S. track cyclist, John VandeVelde. The sport is “horribly undermined by not lending itself to TV viewing,” shared VandeVelde in an exclusive interview with Pedal. But he’s betting all of this will likely change with his new, patented SpeedTrak that’s having its “Proof of Concept” world premiere this evening in Milton at the Mattamy Velodrome.
VandeVelde rode for the U.S. national team at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics; he is also the father of Christian VandeVelde, a retired road cyclist and veteran of 20+ Grand Tours, ending his racing career with Slipstream–Chipotle in 2013. The younger VandeVelde is now a sportscaster for NBC.
“I used to ride 6-Day events in Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, NYC, etc. I knew that track cycling will not work in North America; the discipline was not properly formed. So I developed this game and have tested my system all over the USA,” VandeVelde explained.
The game is called “SpeedTrak” and basically it’s track racing that’s been redesigned to be audience-friendly. VandeVelde notes that, unlike many other spectator sports, track racing has no home team to cheer for. But his new, patented game featuures home teams, easier rules to understand, better visuals, and faster action. Moreover, VandeVelde claims that the audiences have been going wild…
“Watching a 4,000m pursuit can be like watching paint dry. With a good Keirin, people can get into it but then there is a time trial – it’s like the air would go out of stadium! That’s what we have been doing with this new game.”
“Our teams will be: Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit. There will be 10 races with mixed teams. The first five players across the line score points for their team. At the end of the 10 races, points go up on the scoreboard and the team with most points wins. It’s very very simple; we’re making this for TV.”
“There is going to be scoring every two minutes with points going up on the board. We will include technology such as wattage, speed, heart rate, all this will go up on a big screen in the velodrome. It will be very visual, engaging, and technologically spectacular. We’ll do a lot of things with technology the sport has never done before!”
“I’ve never been closer to finding a home until I came to Milton. Greg Mathieu (Cycling Canada CEO) knows that we have to change track cycling or it will disappear. Cycling Canada got it and Steve Bauer and Josée Laroque (Cyclesport Management) have been out there, knocking on doors for me…”
“This is the start of it all,” said VandeVelde.
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