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We may look back wistfully to the glory days of Athens and Beijing

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) yesterday published its qualification system for track and mountain biking - with road racing coming soon - for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London. The shock news for a dominant Team GB - that has famously won multiple medals in individual and team disciplines at the two recent Olympics in Athens and Beijing - is that each nation can now only field one athlete per event.

Furthermore, the qualification events will now include the European Championships which has hitherto been an under-23-only event.

The full implications of this will need to be digested but it's certainly going to hit Great Britain's track cyclists badly who in 2008 came back from Beijing with 7 out of the available 10 track gold medals.  There were a further four silver and bronze medals for GB in the same events.

Sir Chris Hoy won three titles, Bradley Wiggins two while Victoria Pendleton and Rebecca Romero also claimed a gold each.

Hoy and Wiggins were members of the gold medal-winning team sprint and team pursuit squads, respectively.

Britain secured gold and silver medals in the men's sprint and men's Keirin, with Hoy finishing ahead of Jason Kenny and Ross Edgar, respectively, as well as the women's individual pursuit, where Wendy Houvenaghel finished second to Romero.

Steven Burke was third behind Wiggins in the men's individual pursuit and Chris Newton took bronze in the men's points race.

This development comes hard behind the UCI's recent plan to balance the men's and women's events by discontinuing some of the men's disciplines where Britain had traditionally done well, such as Bradley Wiggins in the individual pursuit.

Team GB Performance Director Dave Brailsford appears to be taking a sanguine view, thinking that by focussing riders on an individual event it might open up some opportunities for others. The BBC this afternoon was quoting him, "There will be just one rider in the keirin, one in the sprint and then team sprint so we might have to think a little bit more carefully about who focuses on what in that respect."

 

6 comments

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 6 years ago
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Blazers!

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wilhay [71 posts] 6 years ago
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Is this aimed at curtailing Team GBs domination?

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dave atkinson [6208 posts] 6 years ago
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well they didn't make much secret of the last set of rule changes being about that. so it's not a massive leap...

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antonio [1119 posts] 6 years ago
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Poor Vicki, after a long campaign, still only one event available. One athlete per event. One man for team sprint? One man for the road race? No British bikes that give an advantage? Is this Pat McQuaid or UCI? I don't believe it.

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nick_rearden [436 posts] 6 years ago
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Antonio, the road race system hasn't been announced yet and we're not envisaging too many changes there. Well, unless Wiggins wins the road race, anyway.

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bikeandy61 [524 posts] 6 years ago
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Why not just make it that once your have country wins a gold medal it can no longer take part in any other events at that Olympics. This seems to me to be yet more PC, "let everyone win, no losers". Why not just get each country to write in a 1000 word essay "Why I think ******* should "win" a Gold Olympic medal"? Lets face it, is it fair that China won 51 Golds when 32 countries didn't get even one. Surely this is totally unfair?