UCI president Brian Cookson has hailed a mixed men’s and women’s track cycling test event as “a huge success” as four under-23 teams competed in a team sprint at the World Cycling Centre in Switzerland.
The development of women’s cycling was one of Cookson’s manifesto aims before he was elected president, and cycling events that see men and women competing at the same time seems like an obvious way to completely break down the gender divide.
Teams of two women and two men from Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain gathered in Aigle for the race, with the Italians beating the French in the final by just 1/100 of a second.
The races followed the format of a traditional team sprint, with each nation allowed to choose the leading order of their athletes.
With the top three teams separated by just 2/10 of a second in the preliminary rounds, the teams proved they were evenly matched, with the athletes providing positive feedback on the new format.
Monica Dew, who led the British team for the first lap, said: “The guys got behind me and encouraged me to press on. We know each other really well but it’s the first time we race together. It worked incredibly well.”
Cookson said: “All the teams took it in great spirit, and I would like to thank them for their motivation and their stunning performances in this event, which was totally new to them. I am sure we have seen some of the world’s future stars here today.”