With the omnium last week confirmed as part of the futiure Olympic track cycling programme, it’s clear that we’re going to hear a lot more about the event, often described as cycling’s answer to the decathlon, in the run-up to London 2012.
Derided last week by Geraint Thomas, the second fastest man ever at the 4km Individual Pursuit, which has been dropped by the IOC, as “a joke event, what you do at Maindy Track in Cardiff as a 12-year-old,” top youth riders are being given the chance to prove the Team Sky rider wrong in a series of three events up the M4 at the Newport Velodrome in the New Year.
Welsh Cycling, along with Newport Velo, has announced that it is hosting a three-race omnium series for experienced Youth A, B and C riders, with racing taking place on Saturdays 23 January, 20 February and 20 March.
Called the Icebreaker Omnium Series, according to the Welsh Cycling, “the aim of the events is to give all of the riders a regular early season competition ahead of the summer racing calendar. The events are aimed to be fast and furious with no pursuits or sprint qualifying with the aim of avoiding riders sitting around for long periods of time.”
Event organiser Michael Heaven said, “This is going to be an exciting series of events aimed at giving our track stars of the future a real opportunity to gain some bunch race experience and build their early season fitness. We have a superb facility here in Newport and what better way to show it off than with some non stop racing action.”
Special guests will be in attendance, including Team GB Sprint Coach and multiple World Masters Champion Geoff Cooke and Double World and European Junior Champion, Becky James, while the Mayor of Newport will be giving out prizes on February 20th.
Spot prizes will be on offer throughout the series, plus medals for each round and trophies for the overall series.
Organisers say that Team GB’s success in recent years has helped fuel a boom in youth track cycling in recent years, and anticipate that up-and-coming riders such as Matt Cross, Rebecca Hunt and Amy Roberts will take part in the series.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.