Wiggins speaks out about Olympic cycling program
Star says change could kill off track endurance cycling
Bradley Wiggins has slammed the planned shake-up to the program for the 2012 London Olympics, saying that it would kill off track endurance cycling. Cycling’s world governing body said last month it was planning a radical shakeup of the Olympic Games track schedule which could mean female cyclists gain parity with their male counterparts.
Currently, cycling has seven men's events and only three for women at the velodrome during the Olympics, but the move would mean a cut in the number of men's events to five, which would affect the chances of the likes of Wiggins, who ha won gold in the past two Olympics in the individual pursuit, one of the events tipped to go in the new program, along with the Madison.
The men currently have the individual and team pursuits, points race, Madison, individual sprint, team sprint and keirin, while the women only have the individual sprint, points race and individual pursuit.
Wiggins, competing in Victoria's Jayco Herald Sun Tour, was quoted in the Brisbane Times: "They've changed the program now, given the women a load of events. It's a shame, it will probably end up killing off track endurance cycling."
The 29-year added that it was unfortunate "for the younger guys" coming up in the sport: "We're pawns in their game. We're just riders, it doesn't matter what we think."
The UCI wants to overhaul the track schedule in time for the 2012 London Olympics and has approved the change in principle, but a decision would need International Olympic Committee approval. The International Olympic Committee wants to make an announcement about the programme for London by December 12.
Last month a request from the UCI for more female disciplines to be included at London 2012 was turned down by the International Olympic Committee, unless men's events are taken off the programme.
The British star was also dealt a blow in his quest to win the Tour de France, in which he finished fourth this year, when the route for next year’s race was unveiled in Paris on Wednesday.
With just one long time-trial – Wiggins’ speciality– and more demanding mountain stages than this year, the 2010 route is likely to be more favourable to climbers such as this year's winner Alberto Contador.