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Overhaul of the Track Cycling World Cup series will see trade teams excluded

Joseph Delves
24 Jun 2019

With only national teams allowed to compete from 2020 successful outfits like the UK’s Huub-Wattbike now find themselves in jeopardy

Moves to reform the Track Cycling World Cup Series will see the number of events halved along with the exclusion of all non-national teams. Now rebranded as the UCI Track Cycling Nations’ Cup, the competition will also move from winter to summer.

Claiming the moves were in part devised to ease the financial burden on national federations needing to send teams to six separate events, the series will also now only be open to riders selected for national teams.

Announcing the changes on 20th June the UCI explained, 'The current UCI Track Cycling World Cup will undergo several changes from the 2020-2021 season: the number of rounds of the series will go from six to three, and these will no longer be organised from October to January but between July and September, starting in 2021.

'Moreover, the World Cup will change its name to the UCI Track Cycling Nations’ Cup. As the name suggests, participation will be reserved uniquely for national teams.'

The move, apparently made without consulting the various teams that now find themselves excluded, came as a surprise to many.

Among those affected will be the popular and successful Huub-Wattbike squad. Based in Derby, in the last year the team comprising John Archibald, Dan Bigham, Jacob Tipper, Jonny Wale, Ashton Lambie and George Peasgood have broken world records and won gold medals.

In a statement released today, they reacted to the situation; 'As a multiple World Cup-winning trade team which has broken records and developed world champions, the announced changes have severe implications for us and will ultimately kill off the existence of trade teams completely.

'Whilst you said you will "encourage dialogue between stakeholders prior to any decisions", it seems you have forgotten that trade teams are now some of the biggest stakeholders in track cycling and consequently we are very disappointed we were not consulted at any point during this process.'

Now lacking their main opportunity to gain exposure, and dependant on independent sponsors for their funding, the exclusion of trade teams from the series will put the continued existence of many in jeopardy.

Currently providing much-needed homes to those outside of increasingly competitive national programmes, many riders will now find themselves excluded from the highest levels of the sport.

Not only will this inevitably put many out of work, but it will also further cement the control of the various national governing bodies over who is eligible to compete.

Given the ability of some of these organisations to generate scandal, making them the sole arbiter when it comes to selection is not a move likely to be without consequence.

The decision to move the calendar from winter to summer has also met with criticism as it will see events overlap with the height of the road season. From 2021 the events will move from between October and January to between July and September, with the result likely to be a decrease in the number of riders crossing over between disciplines.

The moves form part of a desire on the part of the UCI to broaden the appeal of track cycling beyond its traditional audience.