Velon roadies to tackle track racing

Velon teams will bring top professional road riders to the track at UK's Revolution track series races.

Professional team group Velon announced a new partnership Friday that will bring its pro roadies onto the velodrome as part of the popular Revolution series in the UK.

The collaboration with cycling events company FACE Partnership, which runs Revolution, will be called the Revolution Champions League, and will feature athletes from the 11 Velon road teams.

Repackaging track racing into exciting, spectator-friendly formats seems to be the plat du jour. The Velon/FACE partnership comes shortly after a new track series called the World Cycling League, which uses a city vs. city franchise model, had its debut event outside Los Angeles in March.

“At Velon we are excited by linking up with the Revolution Series extending our goals in cycling beyond the road and onto the track,” said Velon CEO Graham Bartlett. “Revolution is already a very well established and successful race series and this new partnership will enable the series to expand internationally as the new Revolution Champions League.”

Founded in 2014, Velon is a conglomeration of 11 WorldTour teams including Sky, BMC, Cannondale, and Movistar. Its stated mission is to improve and advance the business model of pro cycling, and to that end has struck a number of media and promotional deals designed to provide additional revenue for its teams. It recently partnered with the organizers of the Tour de Suisse and with InFront Media, a massive global sports marketing company. The goal of both deals is to bring fans closer to the sport, according to Velon.

A formal move into track racing is somewhat unique within pro road teams, though individual crossover has always been common. Road cyclists taking to the track in winter is far from unheard of. There are the high-profile crossovers of Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins, as well as riders like Cannondale’s Dylan van Baarle, who raced some six-day events this winter, and Sky’s Geraint Thomas, an Olympic gold medalist on the track. The Revolution Champions League will likely take advantage of these existing crossover athletes.

“Velon and FACE are united in the aims of providing more entertaining racing for cycling fans, and a better narrative to the race season,” said James Pope, CEO of FACE. “With Velon’s support we will bring the world’s best road teams to Revolution and create a new exciting format for track cycling.”