Public cash support for track racing put at risk by UCI

British and Australian cycle orgs are furious with the International Cycling Union (UCI) for recommending the deletion of the kilo and women's 500m track race to the International Olympic Committee. Trackies who specialise in the kilometre race - such as Scotland's Golden Olympian Chris Hoy - have all but seen their careers curtailed in one crazy decision. And future government funding for cycle sport could be cut as a result...
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In a curt statement, the Management Committee of the UCI said it has agreed to "take off the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Program the medals of Track Men Kilometer Time Trial and Women 500m Time Trial."

The UCI - no shrinking violet - said the IOC had "imposed this measure."

However, most experts believe it could only have been the UCI which made the decision which events to cull, with the IOC ratifying the UCI choice.

Two cycle events had to be culled in order pave the way for the entry of BMX racing into the 2008 Olympics. Britain does have a potential medal winner in BMX, youngster Shaneze Reade is one of the world's top female BMX racers.

According to the UCI, the decision to cull the kilo and the women's 500m resulted "from an in-depth evaluation done in concert with its National Federations."

If so, why were so many national federations taken aback by the UCI's decision?

"British Cycling recommended that the road time trial medals be withdrawn, as 'road events' exist without the Olympics but track needs the Olympics as its showcase to the world," said a statement from the governing body of UK cycle sport.

"The impact of removing the road time trial would have been negligible on the sport of road racing and road time trialling whereas the removal of any of the track medals, would likely have a negative impact on the discipline."

"Economically, road cycle racing at the very highest level is funded by private sector commercial funding whereas track racing and the teams that compete within it, is almost totally reliant on public funding in the form of either direct state funding or indirect state funding via sports governing bodies or Olympic programmes."

"In the event of the medals having to be withdrawn from the track, British Cycling recommended that the Points Race, male and female, be removed. However, the UCI decision has been taken to remove the Womens 500 Time Trial and the Mens Kilometre. This is obviously very sad news for the current Olympic champion Chris Hoy, the Sydney 2000 Olympic champion Jason Queally and 2005 Womens World Sprint champion Victoria Pendleton."

Since 1970, nineteen different countries have won medals in the kilo at World Championships.

British Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy will be unable to defend his kilo title at the Beijing Olympics. He said the UCI dictat and the IOC rubber-stamping of it was "crazy".

On his website he said: "No, its not April 1st, the UCI have axed the Kilo. They have really surpassed themselves!This will completely unbalance track cycling.

"Not since the UCI changed the rules on the morning of the World Championships in 1994 to thwart Graeme Obree have they shown such disregard for the well-being of our sport."

BIKEBIZ.COM HAS CREATED A PETITION (it will be delivered to both the IOC and the UCI):

Perhaps the deletion decision can be reversed? Let's show the UCI what democracy feels like...

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/.../petition.html

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