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Timed events out as governing body refocuses omnium on endurance

The UCI has decided to cut the omnium from six events to four with a focus on bunch racing, the programme taking place on a single day rather than two days as currently happens.

The move, which will see individually timed events removed from the omnium line-up, is part of a number of changes in track cycling announced following the UCI World Cycling Congress in Doha, Qatar, this week.

The scratch race, elimination race and points race will remain, and are joined by a new event, the tempo race, which will require riders to sprint on each lap. The time trial, flying lap and individual pursuit will all disappear, however.

"Dropping the timed events means the omnium becomes a pure endurance event, bringing better balance to the track programme," the UCI said.

The omnium made its Olympic debut at London 2012 and British riders have enjoyed success in it. Laura Kenny won the inaugural women’s title and retained it in Rio this summer.

 In the men’s event, Mark Cavendish took silver in Rio, while in London four years earlier, Ed Clancy came away with bronze.

Other changes introduced within track cycling by the UCI include a women’s Madison being added to the track world championships programme, an additional sprint lap added in the keirin, and changes in the qualifying formats of events including the individual pursuit, where there will now be two riders on the track at the same time.

UCI president Brian Cookson commented: "While it is important that we safeguard the essence of our cycling disciplines, we also need to be brave and embrace change in order to give our sport real meaning to those who are watching live or on screens across the world.

"The changes announced today show that we are moving with the times to ensure that our disciplines are presented in the most compelling way possible, and are rooted in the desire to attract and inspire even more fans into cycling,” he added.

The 2016-17 UCI Track Cycling World Cup – now in its 25th edition – starts in Cali, Colombia next month, with subsequent rounds in Glasgow, Apeldoorn and Los Angeles. The world championships will take place in Hong Kong, with the event hosted in Asia for only the second time in its 123-year history.

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.