Salzwedel: Madison must return to Olympic Games
Great Britain cycling coach, Heiko Salzwedel, believes that the Madison should be reinstated into the Olympic programme for 2020, telling Cyclingnews: "to ignore the fundamental history of this sport is a disaster."
Salzwedel was speaking at the end of the UCI Track World Championships in London after witnessing two of his prized athletes – Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins – win the Madison world title in dramatic fashion.
The Madison and individual pursuit were among the track events removed from the Olympic programme after the 2008 Games in Beijing, with the omnium created in their place, in order to make room for BMX events. The UCI are now considering the option of seeking additional track cycling events in the Olympic programme.
"Absolutely it should come back," Salzwedel told Cyclingnews.
"For me it's a shame that it has been kicked out of the Olympic programme. In the history of cycling it means so much. The birth of track cycling came from the Madison and just to ignore the fundamental history of this sport is a disaster. It must come back. It's a great event."
Salzwedel had of course just witnessed Cavendish and Wiggins roll back the years to collect their first Madison world title together since 2008. The pair rode a tactically astute race, picking up points in the early stages before hitting the opposition with a daring move to take a lap.
"That was our only choice," explained Salzwedel.
"To stay out of trouble in the beginning and not put ourselves in the foreground. We wanted to keep in touch with the race but not put ourselves in front. We wanted to pick up a few points here and then, and then when everyone had killed themselves, make a big effort with a big attack."
Cavendish finished sixth in the omnium event and the British coaches confirmed that they and the rider would sit down after Tirreno-Adriatico – his next race – and discuss his future on the track.
"He has proved that he's a great athlete but this is a different athlete," Salzwedel said. "He's proved that he's a world-class rider but to talk about omnium at this stage is a little early.”
Time running out for Rio 2016 Olympics track test event
UCI President Brian Cookson has admitted that staging a test event at the Rio de Janeiro velodrome ahead of the 2016 Olympics would be 'a challenge' after the construction of the venue was delayed by several weeks.
A planned test event had been scheduled for early spring but it has now been pushed back until the end of April. However with the timber needed for the track only arriving this week, and with the track needing several weeks to settle, there is no guarantee that a test event can be completed before the summer Olympics.
"We've already postponed the test event from March until April or the beginning of May, but the track will be ready," Cookson said, before adding that he supported the Rio plans.
"The carpenters are there are on site and about to start work, but it's a challenge. I'm sure that we'll have a velodrome in place for the Olympics but the test event remains a challenge.
"It's important that we have a test event in my view, for the riders, the team and those managing the event."
Cookson, who took over the presidency of the UCI in 2013, was speaking at the UCI Track World Championships in London. The Olympic velodrome in which this year's Worlds took place was constructed ahead of the 2012 Games, with a test event run before the summer. Cookson added that there was no 'Plan B' if Rio failed to deliver on their test event schedule.
"It would be regrettable if there wasn't a test event. Ultimately it's possible to go to a Games without a test event but that makes it less than ideal for everybody. The riders and team wouldn't be able to test out the track.
"A track is a track and riders adapt very quickly. There is no plan B. There's not another useable velodrome in Brazil so there has to be an Olympic velodrome."
Bright future for Filippo Ganna after replicating Moser
Filippo Ganna won Italy's first world championship gold medal in the men's individual pursuit since Francesco Moser in 1976. The forty-year wait was ended with an incredible ride by Ganna, who at just 19, is already on the radar of Lampre-Merida.
"This medal is very important for me and for the national team. It's an incredible day for me," Ganna told Cyclingnews during the Worlds in London.
"I don't think it's going to sink in that I'm world champion for several days. To do what Moser did is a real honour."
During the men's final, Ganna rode a perfectly astute race, starting steadily before producing three incredibly fast laps to take gold from Domenic Weinstein of Germany.
"I needed to keep things steady from the start. If I opened up with too much power then it would have been the wrong strategy."
Cyclingnews spoke to Lampre Merida, who brought Ganna in as a stagiaire at the tail end of 2015. Ganna currently rides for Continental outfit Team Colpack, which a formal agreement to become Lampre's development team during the winter.
"He is a rider that we've had our eye on for two years now," team manager Brent Copeland told Cyclingnews.
"Italy really needs young riders who can develop into one-day stars and good time triallists and we've been working with Filippo over the last year to build him into that. It seems to have started well.
"He might ride for us as a stagiaire. We will decide that in the months ahead and as he progresses. He was thinking of turning professional already this year but we convinced him to stay in our development team. It's best to grow slowly."