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UCI and IOC to discuss cyclo-cross entering Winter Olympics

Stephen Farrand
January 6, 12:33,
January 6, 12:44
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 6, 2014
Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) wins his first race atop a Trek

Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) wins his first race atop a Trek

  • Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) wins his first race atop a Trek
  • Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) remains in the World Cup leader's jersey after winning her fourth straight World Cup race of the season at Heusden-Zolder, Belgium

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Rule change could allow riders to target Olympic medals

Representatives from the UCI and the IOC are scheduled to meet next week to discuss the possible inclusion of cyclo-cross racing at the Winter Olympics.

According to reports in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, the UCI's off-road co-ordinator Peter Van Den Abeele will meet with the IOC sports director, Christophe Dubi.

The inclusion of cyclo-cross in the Winter Olympics would be a huge boost for international profile of the sport. However it would also need a major shift in the spirit of the Winter Games.

Current IOC rules only allow sports that are practiced on snow or ice in the Winter Olympic programme. However the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) is also pushing to include cross country running in future editions of the Winter Olympics and cyclo-cross could take advantage of their influence at the IOC.

"If they decide to replace the rule "the sports must be practiced on snow and ice with "should be practiced only during the winter month", then there may be a chance," Van Den Abeele told Het Nieuwsblad.

If the IOC included cyclo-cross it would boost the international interest in the sport currently dominated by Belgium. It would likely mean that national federations would invest more money in the discipline.

"Olympic Committees of all countries will suddenly be investing in cyclo-cross," Van Den Abeele said.

It not the first time the IOC has considered adding cyclo-cross to the Winter Games. In 2009, various national federations were reported to be in talks with the IOC about its inclusion.

New UCI President Brian Cookson has backed the idea. In December he suggested that the Winter Olympics was missing out by not including cyclo-cross.

“I’m a fan of cyclo-cross, beer, fries and mayonnaise. Cyclo-cross as a discipline at the Winter Games is currently impossible because it is not practiced on snow or ice, but perhaps the IOC will one day revise rule. It’s currently missing something,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

FabiquesAnquetillara 9 months ago
IMO: I think UCI has bigger bone to pick with IOC than cyclocross and that is track. UCI should fight for getting individual pursuit, kilo TT, point races and madison back. Unlike Pat who was so busy decorating medals to gymnasts in London, I do not think last Olympics were fantastic for track cycling. If previous leadership of UCI did not noticed, that program was cripled and some of the disciplines with tradition going to to roots of modern Olympics were gone. If Pat thinks that is ok and he does not feel it was great and abysmal failure of UCI to let it happen, he is very wrong. Fixing that should be the priority for UCI now regarding Olympics. Cyclocross seems like marginal issue in comparison.
TheFred 9 months ago
I agree, those traditional track disciplines need to return to the summer Olympics. However, if they could get cyclocross into the Winter Olympics, it would be a huge boost to cycling overall. Maybe they can work on both objectives at the same time, among a few other rather important improvements.
jollygoodvelo 9 months ago
I agree, every Olympics requires the building of a brand new velodrome that gets used for only a couple of days. There's plenty of room in the schedule to add extra events.
Brian Handy 9 months ago
Track cycling is equally as "marginal" as cyclocross but is growing very rapidly here in the states, among other places. Though restoring track events would be nice, you've got to prioritize the hot, growing sport!
TShame 9 months ago
I live in the USA and track cycling is nearly dead. Only the smallest number are in any world cup event.(no mens pursuit, no men's or women's team sprint, no keirin, etc) The Olympic comm. looks at money first. This is why they added a 30 second bmx event and cut track events. It is the sales of bmx bikes versus fixed track bikes (and how much money those companies are pumping into the Olympic 'spirit').
rickpaulos 9 months ago
FAT bike crit on snow!
stuart1458 9 months ago
I think you will find that the decision to drop those disciplines was a UCI one and not IOC in order to create more gender balance. To reintroduce them the UCI would have to persuade the IOC to award more medals to cycling. Or maybe the UCI should drop the road race and the time trial to make room for those track disciplines because they are not really the ultimate goals for road racing cyclists. I agree having cyclo-cross in the Winter Olympics would be better for promoting cycling because participation levels are much higher than track but if the snow/ice rules changed where would it stop? Aren't football/rugby and track cycling winter sports?
FabiquesAnquetillara 9 months ago
It was UCI decision which discipline to keep. yes. But it was IOC decision to alocate less "medals" to cycling and that was UCI's failure to let it happen. It is not like these decisions come overnight. Overall amount of "medals" per Games is limited, but it is up to each governing body to negotiate for quota for your sport. And UCI did worse job than other sports governing bodies in fighting for their disciplines.
avanti 9 months ago
It is the number of athletes that limit the number of events. It is time for countries rather than cities to host the olympics (winter and summer). That way existing facilities could be utilized allowing more competitors and more spectators.
Lightening Toke 9 months ago
The IOC didn't allocate less medals to track. In fact, more medals were awarded on the track in 2012 than 2008. The number of events remained the same at 10. The UCI axed several men's events and added new women's events for gender equality in the medal count. I'm not saying that's good or bad at the moment. But, let's be honest about it. The traditional track program was axed up and mangled to give more medals to women. Period.
wadoflove 9 months ago
So soccer/football is a winter olympics sport now?
jamiephillips 9 months ago
I would think not as major international football tournaments always take place in the summer.
Chip Schug 9 months ago
Having worked for nine Olympic Organizing Committees (four Winter Games) adding CX to the winter schedule would not be too difficult (two days of competition) and could be done within the Host City. Especially if the Winter Olympic Park concept continues from Sochi as the venue could be within the Park... However if the venue cannot be combined with another existing Olympic Venue, the venue build-out, security and other ancillary costs make it prohibitive due to the fact the venue is only live (ticketed) for two days.
Jar West 9 months ago
A Cyclocross would be entirely possible in and around a Biathlon/Cross county-skiing stadium...
avanti 9 months ago
The 2016 Olmpic games will be held in the winter since they are in Rio ;-0
Brian Handy 9 months ago
Not sure why it wouldn't qualify under the old rule "...the sports must be practiced on snow and ice …" Though it isn't practiced EXCLUSIVELY on snow and ice, it certainly CAN be on snow and ice. Presented with pictures or video of last year's biggest CX race, the worlds here in Louisville, it is hard to argue that it ISN'T a winter sport! Same goes for CX worlds in CZ couple of years ago...