One of the UCI's more unpopular decisions has been to remove the kilometre and 500m time trial from the track program at the 2008 Olympic Games. Cyclists, coaches, fans, politicians, and journalists from all over the world have protested the decision by means of an online petition, which has so far gathered 7000 signatures and will be presented to the UCI and IOC in Switzerland next week.
The UCI has responded to the outrage by issuing a statement explaining its decision. "The International Olympic Committee had approved the introduction of the BMX in the program of the Olympic Games on the only condition that it would not increase the number of medals awarded globally to cycling." This effectively meant that two events would have to be sacrificed from the track program, as both the road and mountain bike programs are already small. There was speculation that the points or the madison would go, or even the keirin, but the removal of the kilo and 500 took many by surprise.
The UCI statement continued, "The decision to remove the events in question ensues exclusively from a detailed study led by the UCI, to whom thus returns the whole responsibility of this choice. Any other interpretation of the situation does not correspond to the reality, and must be considered erroneous.
"The UCI also reminds that this decision was taken in the view to protect the chances of participation to the Olympic Games to the largest number of athletes, given that the specialists of these disciplines are regularly registered also in the events of individual and team sprint."