Track cycling and mountain bike events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will take place some 120km away from the Japanese capital, the IOC and the UCI confirmed on Wednesday.
The velodrome at the Japan Cycle Sport Centre in Izu will be used for the track events – though it will need refurbishment – and the mountain biking will be held on an existing adjacent course, which will also need to be renovated. The IOC claims the decision, part of a ‘venue master plan’ that focuses on “cost effectiveness, sustainability and legacy”, will enable savings of $100 million.
UCI President Brian Cookson is understood to have been concerned about the proposal to move the events away from Tokyo, and negotiations between the UCI, the IOC, and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee have dragged on in recent months.
"It's no secret that the big issue was moving the track events out to Izu," Cookson recently told the Associated Press. "It's a long way from central Tokyo to Izu and we need to make sure the impact of that is minimized if that's the only available solution.”
The UCI have had to settle for Izu, though athletes and team officials will be able to stay in the main Athletes Village in Tokyo before and after their competition. During competition they will be housed in a separate satellite village close to the venue and there will be a bullet train between Tokyo and Izu, which is hoped will keep travel times to a minimum.
The 250-metre velodrome is set to undergo significant construction work, primarily to increase the seating capacity, while the mountain bike course, which will have the imposing Mount Fuji as a backdrop, will need to be renovated to meet Olympic standards.
The road cycling events, including the road races and time trials, will take place in the centre of Tokyo, as will the BMX, for which a temporary 5,000-seater facility is being built.
“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for cycling at the Olympic Games and I would like to thank the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for their collaboration in agreeing these venues,” said Cookson in a statement on Wednesday.
“Athletes, spectators and those watching around the world will experience not just incredible venues, superb infrastructure and forensic planning, but also spectacular backdrops such as the Imperial Palace Garden and Mount Fuji to create truly unique cycling events.”