The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that it will suggest adding a sixth event to the omnium event at the London Olympics in 2012. The UCI said the changes made in the Olympic track events were an “historic turning point” for the cycling world.
Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it had adopted the UCI's recommendations to delete certain events and add the omnium, in order to make track cycling more equal for men and women cyclists.
The omnium currently consists of five events: 200 m individual sprint; 1 km/500 m time trial; individual pursuit; points race; and scratch race. Responding to criticism that this format was too heavily oriented towards the sprint specialists, the UCI said that it would add a sixth event, to make it “attractive to the public and indeed more oriented towards endurance.” It did not say what the event would be.
The UCI had originally asked that, in order to reach the goal of gender equality, two more women's events be added to the Olympic programme. The IOC turned that down, saying it could not increase the total number of cycling medals or the total number of athletes at the Games. In response, the UCI came up with the proposal adopted yesterday.
In its statement released Thursday evening, the UCI noted that the changes were intended solely for the Olympic Games and would not affect its World Track Championships, which have ten men's and nine women's races.