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Female track cyclists could gain parity with the men in 2012

But it would mean a cut in the number of men's events ...

Cycling’s world governing body is planning a radical shakeup of the Olympic Games track schedule which could mean female cyclists gain parity with their male counterparts. Currently, cycling has seven men's events and only three for women at the velodrome during the Olympics.

The plan to even up the number of men's and women's events at the 2012 Olympics in London will enhance the prospects of Briton Victoria Pendleton and other top women cyclists.

But it would mean a cut in the number of men's events from seven to five, which would affect the chances of the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins, both gold medal winners at the Beijing Olympics last year. Indeed, the British smashed the rest of the field in Beijing, winning seven gold medals on the track.

The men currently have the individual and team pursuits, points race, madison, individual sprint, team sprint and keirin, while the women only have the individual sprint, points race and individual pursuit.

The UCI wants to overhaul the track schedule in time for the 2012 London Olympics and has approved the change in principle, but a decision would need International Olympic Committee approval. The International Olympic Committee wants to make an announcement about the programme for London by December 12.

The Madison and the individual pursuit are the events which could be removed from the program as a result of the proposal.

Last month a request from the UCI for more female disciplines to be included at London 2012 was turned down by the International Olympic Committee, unless men's events are taken off the programme.


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wild man | 14 years ago

Completely agree with the need for parity between men and women, but it's another crazy decision about what to remove.

The kilo and the individual pursuit are the two blue riband events- I would rather watch a rebel 'Olympics' which ONLY had these two races. It's like taking the 100m and the 1500m out of the track and field programme.

The omnium is fine, but is going to be won by a jack of all trades- Wiggins has transferred to road at just the right time.

cat1commuter | 14 years ago

Men currently have:

  • 4 km team pursuit
  • 4 km individual pursuit
  • 3 man team sprint
  • individual sprint
  • keirin
  • points race
  • madison

Women have:

  • 3 km individual pursuit
  • individual sprint
  • points race

I believe that the current idea is to have for both Men and Women:

  • team pursuit (4 km 4 man or 3 km 3 woman)
  • team sprint (3 man or 2 woman)
  • individual sprint
  • keirin
  • omnium:
    • 200m time trial
    • scratch race
    • individual pursuit
    • points race
    • 1 km time trial

In my opinion, in the points race, madison and keirin it is difficult to reliably win a single race, so they aren't therefore ideal Olympic events. When they are part of a series, like the World Cups, the strongest riders have the chance to overcome any bad luck they might suffer along the way (such as the rider in front of you crashing and taking you out). So I think I'd have kept the individual pursuit and dropped the keirin to give two sprint and two endurance events, plus the omnium. But at least the omnium does retain an individual pursuit.

I'll be sad to see the madison go. I love the hand slings, and its history stretches right back to the origins of cycling.

If anything I think GB women track cyclists are more dominant than the men, so it should be good news for medals in 2012.

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