By Mark Zalewski
The UCI track cycling commission announced on April 1 a new format for UCI track races for next year. All races sanctioned by the UCI taking place in the northern hemisphere will now be run in a clockwise direction, to negate the Coriolis effect on the riders.
The UCI commissioned a study in 2005 to quantify any positive or negative effect this phenomenon has on track riders, and found a significant advantage for track racing in the southern hemisphere, where the rotation effect is in alignment with the track racing direction.
"We found that this explains why the Aussies are so good at track racing," said an unnamed UCI official. "That is really the reason why this study was commissioned -- to figure out how we can slow them down. They train in that condition and their times are subsequently faster."
While it will take some time for rider to adjust to turning right instead of left, the UCI feels that a more level playing field will help track cycling as a whole.