December 16 – “˜On Track to the future’ : The reform is bearing fruit. It is now almost three years since the idea of reforming track cycling was first conceived within the UCI. First set up in 2003 and introduced for the 2004-2005 season, the programme to restructure the discipline is now coming to maturity. First review after the second heat of the UCI Track World Cup “Classics” that took place in Manchester from 9 to 11 December.The primary objectives of the reform (entitled “On track to the future”) were: “¢ to promote a higher media profile for the discipline, avoiding the seasonal competition with other cycling disciplines, such as Road and Mountain Bike “¢ to harmonize participation over all competitions entered in the calendar “¢ to promote professionalism within the discipline “¢ to further the emergence of new talent “¢ to encourage participation by women.Objectives achieved! “¢ The flagship events of the Track season have been moved to the winter season (November to February). Televised coverage of Track events has taken off since then!
In fact, over 90 hours of images of the UCI Track World Cup “˜”˜Classics’’ 2004-2005 were broadcast in 110 countries in five continents, whereas in 2002 media coverage was practically non-existent. “¢ Two professional Track Teams were registered with the UCI last year. This season, seven have registered!The UCI Track Teams Scienceinsport.com (GB)Recycling.co.uk/MG-XPower/Litespeed (GB)Team DFL-GB Procycling Ltd /(GB)Omnibike Dynamo Moscow (RUS)Alpha Sport Donestek Shvsmuor (UKR)Spike Professional Cycling team (USA)Tean TIAA-CREF (USA)
The Track Ranking has become an objective in its own right, since it is the new basis for qualification for the major events: the UCI World Championships and the Olympic Games. Each event entered in the UCI international calendar now awards points according to a scale divided into four classes. Rider interest and participation have thus increased. “¢ The presence of young competitors in certain national delegations has been made possible thanks to the introduction of Track Teams. Those athletes who have won the most titles race in the colours of the professional teams, thus freeing up precious places within national federations.”¢ Endurance events (Scratch, Individual Pursuit and Points) are now attracting more women than men. In Manchester, just as in Moscow, figures are significant.Great Britain:The first federation to have taken advantage of the reformThree teams — SIS, Recycling.co.uk and DFL — boast all the best British riders: Victoria Pendleton, Jason Queally, Jamie Staff, Robert Hayles, Chris Newton, etc. This gives youngsters the opportunity to compete wearing the national federation’s jersey. Thus, Great Britainwon the Team Sprint event in Manchester, with an untested team in which Ross Edgar (22) competed alongside specialists Chris Hoy and Craig McLean.In Manchester, 36 women took part to the Sratch event. As in Moscow, men were only 30.Victoria Pendleton, Sprint World Champion, is now part of the SIS Team.
International Keirin Event
In Manchester, the Japanese Keirin Association organized the second edition of a Keirin tournament that brought together the world’s best specialists. With total prize money of EUR 67’000, the event attracted not only athletes but also the media. This formula proved to be a definite success and certainly one of the favourite events of the French cyclist MickaÃ«l Bourgain who took first place on the podium for the second time, winning a further sum of EUR 15’000.Road cyclists are back!Thanks to the recent change in the timing of the Road and Track events, road riders are now appearing again in velodromes. Nicole Cooke, second in the 2005 UCI Road World Championships in Madrid, and Magnus BÃ¤ckstedt, winner of the Paris-Roubaix in 2004, were present in Manchester.Participation in the sport has markedly increasedIn Manchester, a total of 240 riders represented 38 nations and three teams.
These figures are highly significant in terms of the growing interest in the UCI Track World Cup “Classics”, and are similar to those recorded for the UCI Track World Cup “Classics” events, heats to qualify for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.