The UCI Track World Cup series looks set for an overhaul after the closure of the 2015/16 season this weekend in Hong Kong.
The exact nature of the alterations has not yet been specified, but a Union Cycliste Internationale spokesperson confirmed to Cycling Weekly that changes were being discussed.
“The UCI is in ongoing discussions with key stakeholders including National Federations, with regards to potential changes to the structure of UCI Track competitions to create a more sustainable and attractive offering. Further details will be shared in due course.”
Former track sprinter Sir Chris Hoy tweeted on Thursday that he had heard changes were to be made to the competition. “This weekend’s track cycling World Cup will be the last one ever apparently as the competition format is changing next year. End of an era,” he said.
Introduced in the mid-1990s, the top-level track series run by the UCI has been a mainstay of the track racing calendar.
The format of the series originally ran for six rounds from February into early summer, but this was changed to an October-February programme in 2004. Recently, the number of rounds has dropped to just three with some nations and venues having reportedly struggling to accommodate the competition.
Track cycling remains – for now – an important part of the Olympic Games programme, and it looks likely that the changes to the World Cup will be instigated when this year’s Games in Rio have concluded.
Unlike other cycling disciplines, track cyclists are often focussed almost solely on Olympic medals, and interest in the World Cup often has to fit in with a particular nation’s four-year plan.
Currently, the World Cup rounds include some competitions now not found in the Olympic programme, such as points and scratch races. Olympic events currently comprise men’s and women’s sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit and omnium.
It is possible that the number of events included in the Track World Cup could be reduced to streamline the length of each round, and therefore reduce costs.
The Hong Kong round of the 2015/16 Track World Cup concludes on Sunday.