A Dutch track team have joined the fight against the UCI plans to bar trade outfits from World Cup events.
The international governing body announced controversial plans to “revitalise” the indoor calendar by putting more focus on national squads and moving the season from winter to summer.
But the decision has caused uproar among the trade teams who will be affected, with British team Huub-Wattbike and Dutch outfit Beat Cycling Club publicly challenging the announcement.
Beat have launched an online petition and are calling on their fans to support their campaign against the plans.
In open letter to UCI president David Lappartient and head of track cycling Gilles Peruzzi, the team said: “These new measures have taken us by surprise, and we want to state our disappointment at not being involved in their development
“We believe that the measures as announced in your press release are not in the best interests of further developing track cycling. Moreover, we believe they will shrink the sport, not expand it. In this open letter we therefore wish to express our concerns.”
The petition currently has 2,052 signatures (opens in new tab) after it was set up on Monday (June 24).
Beat, home to former world champion Theo Bos, have joined Huub-Wattbike in penning an open letter to the organisation.
Huub, the team of John Archibald, said the changes would be “brutally destructive” for the sport.
In their letter, signed by Beat’s managing directors Geert Broekhuizen and Edwin Gulickx, the team argue three main points – that track cycling will become less visible, it will become and amateur sport, and there will be fewer opportunities for athletes.
They said: “We believe this will take track cycling back to the times in which most sports were practiced at the amateur level.
“As we see across the world of sports, professional teams are able to attract money that can be used to advance the sport.”
Last week, the UCI announced a major overhaul of the track cycling calendar, which will see trade teams barred from riding World Cup events.
As part of its plan to develop track cycling, the World Cup series will be knocked down from six events to three from the 2020/21 season, and will be organised from July to September, rather than October to January, from 2021.
The World Cup will change its name to the UCI Track Cycling Nations’ Cup and will be reserved solely for national teams.
This is bad news for outfits like Huub-Wattbike, who have blazed a trail for trade teams by beating national squads and setting records on the track.
The track world championships will be moved from March to October, at the end of the Track Cycling Nations’ Cup.
Announcing the changes, UCI president Lappartient said the changes would be made to make track cycling more appealing.
A UCI spokesperson said: “The Nations’ Cup will be a qualifying pathway for nations to the Track Worlds and part of a three-layer qualification process (Continental Championships, Nations’ Cup, World Championships) for the Olympic Games.”
The UCI added that the decision has been made to reduce the financial burden on National Federations by reducing the number of World Cup rounds from six to three.
The season will be moved to the summer to make it easier for endurance riders to take part in the world championships, as they often find it hard to get leave from their road teams in March.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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