Track cycling could be missing from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the first time the sport has not featured since the 1950s with the only remaining candidate, the city of Durban, South Africa, omitting it from its bid which was formally lodged in London this week.
While the host city will not be formally declared until September, the Canadian city Edmonton dropped out of the bidding last month, leaving Durban clear to be the first city in Africa ever to host the multi-sport event.
The Commonwealth Games programme has included track cycling since 1934, but the sport is an optional one for organisers to include, and the costs of building a velodrome are said to be behind the decision to drop it from its final plans.
Such facilities can all too often become expensive white elephants, as happened with the one built in Delhi for the 2010 edition, the venue now padlocked, unused and falling into disrepair.
Elsewhere, they can thrive – the one built in Manchester ahead of an unsuccessful bid for the Olympic Games in the late 1990s was used in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, is now home to British Cycling, and has been the cradle of a wealth of talent.
Among cyclists to have won Commonwealth Games medals on the track early on in their careers are Sir Bradley Wiggins, who took silver in the team pursuit at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, and Mark Cavendish, winner of the scratch race for the Isle of Man at Melbourne in 2006, where Australia’s Anna Meares won bronze in the sprint.
While a number of Commonwealth countries – including Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, which splits into the four home nations for the competition – have enjoyed top-level international success in recent years, South Africa lacks the same strength in the velodrome.
Durban’s bid does however include road cycling and mountain biking, with the latter – not previously featured in a Commonwealth Games – due to be held on an existing facility in Pietermaritzburg, which hosted the 2013 UCI World Championships.
Here’s the video for Durban’s bid.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.