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Governing body wants to see more countries winning medals in the velodrome

UCI president Brian Cookson says he wants to see more track cycling events at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, and he also says he supports growth of BMX freestyle, while stopping short of saying he wanted it included as an Olympic discipline.

The last two Olympic Games have both seen changes to the track cycling programme, first to accommodate BMX, then to achieve parity between male and female events at the velodrome.

Beijing in 2008 saw two events dropped that had featured four years earlier in Athens – the men’s kilo and women’s 500 metre sprints. That left 10 events, seven for men and three for women.

For London 2012, the programme was changed again to provide five events for each gender, with the men’s Madison and men’s and women’s individual pursuits and points races discontinued.

The five events raced by both men and women in London were the team and individual sprints, the keirin, the team pursuit and the omnium, and the programme is unchanged for Rio this summer.

But Cookson told the website Inside The Games that he wanted to see a broader spread of countries winning medals, something that could see events such as the Madison or the points race make a return.

"We’re looking at the possibility of adapting the programme after Rio 2016 and we will discuss with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and Tokyo 2020 what changes we might make," he said.

"I would very much like to see the track programme defended and expanded, if possible. I think previous administrations at the UCI gave out signals that track racing was in decline.

"What is clear to me is that it’s not in decline at all. It is growing strongly and we are putting a lot of effort into developing track racing."

"I’ve given out a message that we agreed to compromises in Tokyo in moving out to Izu," he continued, a reference to the change of the venue that will host the track events in four years’ time.

"It’s clear that one of the things we’d like to see is a modest expansion of the track programme."

In the Winter Olympics, the IOC has sought to appeal to younger audiences through introducing sports such as snowboarding and freestyle skiing, and skateboarding and surfing may also feature in Tokyo.

"I think BMX freestyle is a great and exciting discipline, which appeals to youth and TV," said Cookson.

"But just as many young people interested in the traditional disciplines in our sport than 'X Games-like’ sports.

"We have no problem in getting young people into road, track and mountain biking," he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.