The UCI is standing firm behind its decision to suppress from the Beijing Olympics the men's kilo and the women's 500m time trial. Last week, a petition containing 10,679 names was handed to Pat McQuaid, the UCI's president elect, by the editor/publisher of BikeBiz.com, Carlton Reid, and track rider Julie Dominguez.
In a full page article in the UK's Cycling Weekly magazine, published yesterday, McQuaid said he was "livid" at finding himself in what Cycling Weekly called "the centre of an embarrassing controversy." He told Cycling Weekly that his comments, made at the handing over of the petition at the UCI's HQ in Switzerland, were "off the record". According to Reid, he had made explosive comments about the fury of the Beijing Olympic committee, and the inability of the Chinese cycling federation (its best hope of a cycling Gold was in the women's 500m) to find more trackies in a country of billions of cyclists.
His claim from last Thursday that the International Olympic Committee had demanded it was to be track events culled and not road events was swiftly denied by the Switzerland-based IOC. Were the UCI to re-run the survey asking which two cycle events should be culled from the Olympics, there would be no opposition from the IOC.
The current decision was taken after a March 2005 survey of 24 national cycle federations. It is believed many federations voted to exclude the road time trial with only a small proportion voting for the exclusion of the kilo. However, some of the federations surveyed said they were asked to vote on all existing events, and were not told that any votes for a road event would not be counted.
Internal UCI documents show that the UCI had already decided it would be track events culled from the Olympics, not road, Reid reported, So, the inclusion of road events on the March survey calls into question the validity of the survey's results.
Despite many requests from national cycle federations, the UCI has not so far published the survey questions or the full results.
Many national cycling federations are now informally urging the UCI to re-run the survey to find out which two cycling events should be culled from the 2008 Olympics. Track fans can play their part by e-mailing their national federations, of which a list of e-mail addresses can be found at bikebiz.com