The European Cycling Union (UEC) has announced plans to include the new mixed team time trial relay in next year's Road European Championships. The body says it is looking to put a 'greater emphasis on gender equality' in the coming season.
The event will work as an unofficial test event and allow riders and organisers to see it in action ahead of the World Championships in Yorkshire.
It was announced in September during a ceremony to unveil the 2019 Road World Championships routes that next year’s Worlds would feature a team time trial mixed relay. Following the original announcement, UCI president David Lappartient said that they would look into adding the event to the European Championships programme, before adding that he hoped it would be included in future Olympic Games.
The event will replace the current trade team time trial, which was added to the Worlds programme in 2012. It is to be contested by nations and will see a team of three men ride a lap of the 14-kilometre course before passing the metaphorical baton over to a team of three women. The times on the first and second laps will be taken on the second rider to cross the line. However, the exact details of how the handover will happen are yet to be confirmed.
The European Championships will take place from August 7th to 11th next year, though a venue has not been announced. The decision to add the mixed team relay to the programme was made during last weekend’s Cyclo-cross European Championships in s-Hertogenbosch. It is one of a number of new initiatives the UEC hopes to implement over the next four years.
"The success of European events over the last few seasons and the UEC’s active presence alongside its 50 member National Federations confirm that the direction taken is without a doubt the right one," read the statement. "In this respect, on Saturday the board launched a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening cycling’s role with a 360-degree approach on the international sports scene."
Chief among the changes approved was the introduction of a Paracycling Commission next season. The commission will be led by Dutch Federation CEO Simon Meijn.
The UEC added that it had requested a review into the implementation of several events, such as a Cyclo-cross European Cup, a European Championship for BMX Free-Style and Mountain Bike e-Bike, and the coordination of the 2020 Europe Tour Road.
In addition, an Education, Training, Youth and Sport Commission will be set up and run by Italian Enrico Della Casa. An inaugural Annual Congress between the UEC and the African Cycling Confederation has been approved and is set to take place in Rome next March.