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UCI press release re: the Olympic track program

Press Release

10 December 2009
Change to the Olympic track programme

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today confirmed the new track programme which was proposed by the UCI for the XXX Olympic Games in London 2012.

In its report to the IOC after the Beijing Olympic Games, the UCI had requested that 2 extra track events for women be added to the programme in order to increase women participation in the track and indeed to give a more meaningful number of events for women to compete in.

The IOC turned down this request and in August 2009 informed the UCI that whilst it had a clear policy of gender equity within the Olympic programme, and as such supported expanding the female track programme, it could not increase the total number of medals awarded for cycling events at the Olympic Games (currently 18 gold medals) nor the number of athletes (500).

As a result, the UCI needed to undertake an in-depth evaluation of the overall situation.

As the UCI’s priority is to maintain the Olympic status of each of its disciplines that currently feature in the Games programme (road, track, mountain bike, BMX), and in view of the fact that the IOC will undertake a complete review of the Olympic programme in 2013, it is clear that this exercise was extremely important for the future of our sport.

Based on this conviction, the UCI therefore drew up a proposal to modify the track events programme at the London Olympic Games taking into account both its desire to:

preserve the technical heritage and history of the different specialties;
develop the discipline on an international scale using the visibility and popularity gained at the Olympics.

As a result of this reflection, the UCI Management Committee – the body responsible for taking such decisions – unanimously accepted the following solution to be proposed to the IOC to consider for the 2012 Olympic Games:

Track Programme (men – women)

individual sprint
team sprint
team pursuit

As a result, the new programme includes five events for men and five for women, which allows track cycling to retain the same number of medals.

The sprint (individual and team), the keirin and the team pursuit already feature in the men’s competition programme at the Olympic Games: the individual pursuit, points race and madison will not be held in London, where an Olympic title will be awarded for the omnium, a multi-discipline event, like the decathlon in athletics, which has a long tradition in track cycling. At the same time, the women’s programme sees the addition of the team sprint, team pursuit, keirin and omnium to the individual sprint, while the individual pursuit and points race will not be held.

The omnium at the World Championships comprises the following events:

individual sprint, 200 metres
1km – 500 metres time trial (men – women)
individual pursuit
points race
scratch race

However, now that it has been approved for the Olympic programme, the UCI Track Commission will make a detailed study of the format of the omnium in order to guarantee that it will be attractive to the public and indeed more oriented towards endurance; this will involve the addition of a sixth omnium event. This will fulfil the ambitions of endurance athletes aiming to participate in the Olympic Games. The new programme will also necessitate an extra day of competition giving 6 days of track cycling, one more than we had in Beijing.

This in no way affects the programme for the UCI Track World Championships, which will remain at 10 races for men and 9 races for women. The rationale behind the decision of the UCI Management Committee was to provide a track programme for the Olympic Games that was first of all equitable as well as exciting as a spectacle and catering for both sprint and endurance athletes in the best manner possible. The UCI will work towards guaranteeing an increase in the number of countries participating in the Games.

Our Federation has been delighted to be able to count on the unconditional support of the IOC for over a century, and is sure that the modifications made for the London Olympic Games will only serve to increase the stability of cycling, one of the founding sports of the Olympic movement.

The UCI is aware that over and above the legitimate discussions brought about by the changes – in particular concerning their short-term practical impact and the preoccupations of certain national interests – the cycling world will once again prove to be united and cooperative when faced with this historic turning point in its development.

UCI Press Services

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