The UCI Track Champions League represents a “breathtaking” new era for track cycling.
Featuring the world’s most prominent runners, the series includes a unique and condensed international race calendar, gender equality entry and prize fund, and a global broadcast schedule.
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Thirty-six of the best male and female runners will compete in the sprint or endurance categories, accumulating ranking points over the five rounds and fighting for a joint prize pool totaling € 500,000.
“A BREATHTAKING MIX OF ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORT”
“The name of the Champions League says it all,” Francois Ribeiro, head of Eurosport Events, told Reuters ahead of Tuesday’s launch. “It’s an ambitious name for an ambitious project.”
“This is not about reinventing the sport or the rules, but about reinventing the way it is presented to fans of the velodrome and viewers on television,” added Ribeiro.
It will be a mind-boggling mix of entertainment and sport. Half past two … bang, bang, bang!
“We believe the discipline of the track is one of the most exciting forms of cycling sport, but as public demands have evolved there is an opportunity to present this in a new and very compelling way. We tapped into our unrivaled expertise in another form of high-adrenaline racing – motorsport – to refine the format and deliver an unprecedented on-event and on-screen experience for cycling fans.
The new series is part of a restructuring of the track cycling calendar in which the world championships have been postponed later in the year and double as a qualifying process for the Champions League.
“We want to create a window every year for track cycling to create a stronger narrative for the sport, to showcase the rivalries,” added Ribeiro.
“We know spring is for the Giro, July for the Tour de France and now we want November / December to be the window to track cycling.”
The sprint category will include the sprint and the keirin, while the elimination and scratch races form the endurance events. Four runners will emerge champions: the best sprint runners men and women and the best endurance runners men and women.
The riders will wear bespoke speed suits, with their national flag, while a special “leader” jersey will be worn by the leaders of the men’s and women’s sprint and endurance tables.
The UCI Track Champions League
Image credit: Eurosport
Cash prizes will be awarded for places 1-10 in each race in the series, with the individual winners receiving € 1,000 and the overall winner in each category receiving € 25,000.
Each round in the series will last approximately two hours and viewers will benefit from a range of innovative features such as live data on runners designed to bring them closer to the action.
‘A WONDERFUL SPORT’
Mallorca will host the first round at the Palma Velodrome on November 6, followed by a round in St Quentin en Yveli, France, Lithuania, a double at the London Olympic Velodrome and culminating in Tel Aviv on December 11.
Continuing Covid-19 travel restrictions mean the first Champions League season will be based in Europe, but the plan is to tour the world. And event ambassador Chris Hoy expects the event to reach new audiences.
“Track cycling is such a wonderful sport,” Hoy said at a press conference to kick off the event.
“It’s a great sport for kids, it’s great for the elite level, it has it all. There is excitement, there are personalities in sport so hopefully this will interest a new audience but also create personalities within sport. “
UCI President David Lappartient said the Track Champions League marked an “important milestone” in the history of the sport.
“Through our strategic partnership with Discovery, a dynamic, fast and TV-friendly circuit will reach a new audience of track cycling fans,” he said.
Britain’s Ed Clancy, Germany’s Emma Hinze, Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen, Frenchwoman Mathilde Gros, Spaniard Sebastian Mora and Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite will receive wildcards for the first Champions League as “founding riders”.
A condensed racing program designed to give track cycling a clear space in the wider cycling calendar, visibility beyond the World Championships and maximum fan engagement:
Tour 1 – 6 November – Palma, Mallorca
- Velòdrom Illes Balears
- The multisport site with a capacity of 5,200 opened in 2007 and hosted the 2007 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Round 2 – November 20 – St Quentin en Yvelines, France – canceled. See the bottom of the article for the full statement
- Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines National Velodrome
- The French National Velodrome opened in 2014 and hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 2015 and the UEC European Track Cycling Championships in 2016. The velodrome will host the track cycling events of the Olympic Games of Paris 2024.
Round 3 – November 27 – Panevėžys, Lithuania
- Cido arena
- The multisport Cido Arena opened in 2008 and is the only Olympic-standard velodrome in the Baltic States. The stadium with a capacity of 4,230 seats hosted the 2012 UEC European Track Cycling Championships.
Round 4 & 5 – December 3-4 – London, UK
- Lee Valley VeloPark
- The award-winning Lee Valley VeloPark was built for the London 2012 Olympics and is renowned for its iconic curved roof. In addition to the Olympics, the site hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 2016 and the successful UCI hour record attempt by Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2015.
Round 6 – December 11 – Tel Aviv, Israel
- Sylvan Adams National Velodrome
- The brand new site is the most advanced cycling facility in the Middle East, funded by Sylvan Adams as part of his vision to nurture local cycling champions in Israel. The site will host the 2022 UCI Junior Track World Championships.
Complete declaration on the cancellation of Paris
THE UCI TRACK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ANNOUNCES THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES ROUND AS THE VELODROME EXTENDS THE FUNCTIONS OF COVID VACCINATION CENTER
Previously scheduled to host the second round of the inaugural season in November, the French site will now be presented from 2022 as it fulfills its essential role in the local community.
September 24, 2021 – Paris, France: Discovery Sports Events and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announce today that Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines will now join the UCI Track Champions League from 2022, and will no longer host the second round of the Premier League on November 20, 2021.
Following recent directives from the French government, the velodrome just outside Paris will continue to be used as a vital community vaccination center until the end of the year, and is therefore unable to fulfill its role of place of reception. The site will however return to the UCI Track Champions League calendar and is expected to host the league in 2022, 2023 and 2024 as planned.
Due to the limited time remaining to organize a premium event in another location, the canceled round will not be replaced in the 2021 race calendar. The inaugural season will therefore include five international rounds, taking place in Mallorca, Panevézys, London (two rounds ) and Tel Aviv.
The final league standings prize pool for runners remains unaffected, and preparations for the inaugural round in Mallorca, Spain on November 6 continue.
With additional reports from Reuters
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