Cyclo-cross as Olympic sport?

Could cyclo-cross become an Olympic sport? The Dutch newspaper Telegraaf reported Thursday that a group of supporters of the idea have been busy working to make it happen. Members of the Italian cycling are reportedly working together with the International Olympic Committee and the UCI to make it happen.

Diego Vollaro of the Italian federation told the paper that cyclo-cross could start as a demonstration sport as early as the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February of next year. The sport had previously lost out on becoming part of the Games because the athletes involved were mainly from Europe and the Games, and the event requires more international participation. But that has changed in recent years with Canada, the USA, Japan and even Zimbabwe fielding riders in elite competitions.

Another rule could prove more of a stumbling block. The winter Games require a sport take place on ice or snow, but according to the report, that rule is under consideration.

"Next week the board and I will discuss it," said UCI executive board member Joop Atsma. "If there is only a small chance of success, it would be wonderful."

Adding cyclo-cross to the Games would help fuel the Olympic dreams of riders who make the sport their primary goal of the year. Riders like Sven Nys, who devoted extra time to mountain biking in order to be eligible to compete in the Games, or American Katie Compton, who does not pursue track, road or mountain bike racing at the Olympic level.

"I think that would be great," Compton told Cyclingnews. "They have BMX in there now so why not 'cross too?"

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