New Track Programme


Giordano Turrini


Cycling without bikes or skating without ice?

It's just the shoes that are different

Skateboards at Olympics?

All pics from the Public Domain category on Flickr - Thanks

Big Expansion to Track Programme
Dateline: 1-April-2007 and every few years since
Everyone thought that the low-point of Olympic track cycling must have been reached with the announcement that the Beijing Olympics would have two less track medals than Athens - another cutback to what was a modest velodrome programme.
But that was before the news that the introduction of more new events elsewhere would cause more velodrome misery. Adding skate boarding, roller blading (inline skates) and possibly, roller derby will, said an official, boost the appeal of the Olympics to a much wider audience. The sales of more broadcasting rights to cable TV channels had not influenced the decisions, the official said.

Either way the fact that the existing World Inline Speed Skating Championships provide over 20 events on the track alone meant that the IOC / UCI required the track cycling programme to be cut-back to just one event for 2012.

The new “Team-Points-Keiren-Pursuit” combined event would encourage new countries to participate, said the unnamed official. When asked about the risks of having a very large field with many inexperienced riders the official said that this would not be a problem. There would be two day training programme at the UCI track and a loan of a new track bike, without cost, to any new entrants. And besides, the likely mass pile-ups would greatly boost viewing figures. Certainly the winner would be totally unpredictable and this would avoid the problems with events like the Kilo where favourites had won medals without crashing once.

New Start
However all this was before the riders and promoters held their landmark meeting that established a new world cycling order - and lead to the greatly expanded track programme that was agreed this week.

The split of track and road from BMX and MTB was a boost to both groups. And the clear separation from skateboarding and inline skates removing any grounds for trade-offs between the sports at the Olympics.

For track cyclists the reintroduction of the Kilo and 500m was just the start, with the return of the tandem and stayers races supplementing a much extended programme of men’s and women’s events - that included the “Devil”.

But the main impact was that one rider could compete in multiple events so, at long last, providing the opportunity for a cyclist with enough talent to gain 4, 5 or even 6 medals at one Games. Just like the swimmers have been able to do for years. And that’s without needing to introduce a range of “cycling backwards” or “cycling using funny arm movements” races.

...... well, come on, I can’t finish this all on my own! What programme of events would boost track cycling at the World level by and beyond 2012? By 2014 Britain will have 3 full-feature indoor tracks. How can they be made commercially viable?

Your Heard It Here ...
Dateline: approaching 1-Apr-2011
It’s that time of year again - and that Mad March Hare called the UCI is running around again.
This week’s World Track Cycling Championships in Apeldoorn provided more than just news from the track. According to the BBC (
link...) the UCI has confirmed it is once again seeking to include skateboarding - along with BMX freestyle - in future Olympic Games. Now only a few weeks ago I said that I was going to try to stop knocking the UCI. But come on guys ... you are deliberately making it hard for me.

The BBC reports “Skateboarding's chances of becoming an Olympic event benefit greatly from the backing and influence of the UCI, one of Olympic sport's most powerful governing bodies....... "They're all related to wheels, they're all related to bikes as such, and from that point of view cycling is the sport that can bring those disciplines in," explained McQuaid.

Roller sports have failed in separate bids for Olympic inclusion at London 2012 and Rio 2016, both spearheaded by the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) without the UCI's help.

Skateboarding would not have been included under those plans, which favoured the likes of rollerblading and roller hockey.

In the past, the introduction of new Olympic disciplines has routinely required the elimination of others. However, BBC Sport understands the UCI hopes to introduce skateboarding without losing any other events from its Olympic schedule.

A few years back I wrote - “Quite why the Olympic Committee with the compliance of the UCI decided that adding BMX meant cutting back at the Velodrome is hard to fathom. And back in 2005 there were serious attempts from the grassroots to reverse the decision. A decision that did not save any money - since both tracks had still to be built. And it did not streamline the overall Games schedules since the two venues operate independently; events can be run at both at the same time. And the dropped events - the 500m and 1km - have normally been some of the first in the Games schedules to reach a conclusion; with no heats or repecharges to go through. With a field of, say, 50 competitors the whole procedure can be completed in an afternoon. So why make a change? And who forced it through?”

Indeed it is now 6 years since a petition of over 10,000 cyclists and officials - asking to retain the 500m and 1km - was completely ignored by the UCI (more...). A constant stream of complaints about the dropping of the individual pursuits in 2012 has similarly been totally ignored. And who actually supported removing these pursuit events any way? So far no competitors, commentators, rank-and-file cyclists or even national officials have, to my knowledge, been in favour. It is only the UCI - and those dependent on the UCI for their own positions - that have given the changes any backing.

So have the UCI fought to get the 500m/1km and pursuits back in a future Olympics programme - if not 2016 then certainly 2020? Have the UCI taken on board the views of the people they claim to represent? Are national cycling associations pushing for skateboarding and freestyle BMX to become Olympic and World Championship cycling events? Are members of the national cycling associations demanding roller-blading, etc to be handled by the UCI?

That’s four questions and four firm NO answers in my book.


Dissent Rumbles on ... and the UCI talk of action ..
Dateline: 27-Jul-2012
It’s the opening ceremony day for the London Olympics and the world’s media is full of sports stories. A couple that seem relevant to this particular page are -

1 - "The world voice of cycling Phil Liggett yesterday launched a withering attack on changes to the London track cycling program, saying BMX and mountain biking should never be Olympic sports. Cycling's track cycling has seen popular events the individual pursuit, the madison, the points race, the women's 500m time trial and the traditional Games opener, the 1km time trial, dumped with only five track events remaining for both men and women. Liggett said if anything should go, it was BMX and mountain biking ... "It is absolutely disgraceful what they have done. They have devastated the track with the new events and taking out the iconic events of the Olympics," Liggett said.” from article in Melbourne’s Herald Sun 26-Jul-2012

2 - “The UCI is currently planning its quest to fight for more Olympic medal events for cycling at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio - a process which begins straight after these Games and continues on for a year. At the same time there are outside forces pushing for the elimination of an entire sport from the Olympic programme to make room for more participants and more medal events in existing sports.” from article by Laura Weislo on cyclingnews.com 27-Jul-2012

So Phil has sent out his message - one that so many fans will support - with perfect timing for the most media coverage. Well done ...

And the UCI is planning its fight for more medal events in the 2016 Olympics. Hopefully they will be more successful than in the previous / current games - and that the extra events are in the velodrome and use bicycles!

Track 2015-16 Track Update New Velodromes New Track Programme London 6-Day Racing Roubaix Velodromes





2015-16 Track Update
New Velodromes
New Track Programme
London 6-Day Racing
Roubaix Velodromes