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Track cycling gets an overhaul with UCI changes

GB mens team begin the first lap of the team pursuit at the London 2016 World Track Championships
Josh Cunningham
13 Oct 2016

UCI make changes to 8 track cycling disciplines with an aim to improve spectator experience.

The UCI has today made an announcement that there will be an overhaul of track cycling, with changes to the regulations of 8 track cycling disciplines across individual, team, sprint and endurance events. 

The changes were finalised at a meeting of the UCI Management Comittee held at the World Championships in Doha, but come as the result of consultations that have been ongoing throughout 2016. The Track Cycling World Cups and Track World Championships were specifically targeted, with the key aims of the changes to 'improve the competition narrative and create even more spectator-friendly racing.'

The madison will for the first time have a women's event to run alongside the men's - a move which brings gender parity to the current track racing format - and also sees changes to the points system to make it more akin to the points race. A gained lap will now equate to 20 points, and there will be points on the line every ten laps, as well as double the points on offer in the final sprint to keep the race open until the last. 

The omnium sees fairly major changes, with all sprint events now scrapped from the programme to leave just the scratch, tempo race [similar to points race], elimination and points race. The competition can this way be condensed into one day, and apparently makes the full track event spectrum more balanced between endurance and sprint. 

The sprint event has effectively skipped a round, with the fastest riders in qualifying going straight through to the 1/8 finals, rather than to a 1/16 round. 28 riders instead of 24 will now be admitted into qualifying, too. 

The keirin's rules on overtaking the derny have been clarified (presumably after the madison Olympic final was forced to be restarted three times due to riders overtaking). The length of the sprint, once the derny has pulled off, has been increased to three laps to make the race more tactical. 

The kilo and 500m time trials will now be held in a format similar to the pursuit, whereby there are two riders on opposite sides of the track chasing eachother to set a time. The finals will be held on the same day as a result. 

In the team pursuit, there will be two teams on track during qualifying in a bid to compact the event. The 5th & 6th and 7th & 8th finals will be dropped. 

Finally, a first round has been added to the team sprint, bringing the format into line with the team pursuit, and therefore hopefully making it easier to understand for spectators. 

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