New Zealand cyclists to benefit from major changes to track formats

By CyclingNZ High Performance

Cycling New Zealand believes sweeping changes to World Championship and Olympic track cycling formats will be advantageous to Kiwi riders.

In a bid to provide more excitement to track racing, the UCI has made significant changes to the omnium and also formats of the other track events for world cup and world championship competitions.

The omnium is reduced from six events to four, with the removal of all times races comprising the individual pursuit, time trial and flying lap, but adding a tempo bunch race. It will be staged over one day.

The other changes include qualifying for timed events will have two riders or teams on the track at the same time on opposite sides of the track. The team pursuit will no longer have a fifth to eighth place ride-offs; the team sprint will have an added round of racing, like the Olympic competition; the keirin sprint will be increased to three laps and there is an addition of a women’s Madison.

“UCI are trying to make the track racing more of a spectacle, with more high intensity races which will provide more entertainment. We are fully supportive of that,” said Cycling New Zealand Performance Director, Mark Elliott.

“At first glance we are also pleased with the omnium changes because our traditional strength has been in bunch racing. We have a number of riders who have junior and senior world championship success in points racing and Madison.”

Elliott said they are waiting on the details around the format of competitions but it will require a rethink.

“It is likely to require a change in our planning and coaching approach with our more traditional focus on the Teams Pursuit. If the overall number of riders for an Olympics does not change, then riders for the omnium will need come out of team pursuit.

“We would then need to determine the priorities accordingly. And we will need to look for more top class international competition opportunities for our riders.”

The UCI World Cup will get underway next month with two back-to-back rounds in Scotland and the Netherlands with two further rounds in the New Year in Los Angeles and Cali.

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