Well, there’s the Individual Pursuit and Points Race which were already eliminated from the Olympic program. Also, there’s the Kilo TT (and 500m for women) which was dropped from the Olympics in 2008. Now they are all grouped together in this kitchen sink Omnium. What does this mean?
A lot of people are saying that UCI and the International Olympic Committee are gradually phasing out track cycling in the Olympics. Is this move really foreshadowing the death of Track Cycling?
There are now only 8 events in Olympic Track Cycling (including the separate men’s and women’s contests):
In 2008 we had 10 events. In 2004 we had 12 events. It definitely seems like it’s shrinking.
With the new Omnium format, we’ve got 6 contests housed under one medal. Well so much for specificity. Now if Taylor Phinney wants to win an Olympic medal for his Individual Pursuit effort, he must also ride a killer Kilo and Flying Lap. Could he do that? Yeah, but he’d have to compromise his very specific Pursuit training in order to include training for other events.
The Individual Pursuit is a very specialized event and that’s why there are Pursuit specialists in the world. The same thing goes for the Kilo. The Omnium kind of kills all of that. It’s beginning to look like the IOC only has one Gold Medal to award to an “Overall Track Champion”.
Compare this to swimming with 34 events in 2008 (not including the Diving, Synchronized Swimming or Water Polo events). There are athletes who specialize in very specific swimming events and even still, one man took home 8 Gold Medals, which pretty much made him “Overall Swimming Champion”.
The difference is Phelps had to be the best at ALL those events. In the Omnium, you don’t have to be the best at any of the individual contests. You could come in second for all six races and you’d have an excellent chance at winning the single Gold Medal award. In fact, that’s probably your best bet. You have to be the Jack of all trades, master of none. So this is the new Olympics where mediocrity is rewarded.
With the trend we’re seeing right now, I bet that by 2016 we’ll only have the Omnium and the Team Pursuit. They will take the Sprint competition (which has been narrowed down to 8 qualified riders instead of 18) and throw it into the Omnium, replacing the Flying Lap. Keirin might also become an Omnium contest, replacing the Miss n Out. And that’s that! One Gold Medal to rule them all.
Now I don’t really have a problem with the Omnium as an event in itself. It’s an event contested at the World Camps (since 2007) and obviously most local track race days are set up as Omniums (which is great of course). But this isn’t a local track meet. This is the Olympics. It’s supposed to be a major international event that celebrates and awards the best athleticism shown in ALL disciplines.
That’s why there’s the Shot Put, Hammer Throw, Javelin Throw and Discus Throw… not the “Omnium of Throwing Shit Around”.
PEZ Cycling News was down in Trinidad & Tobago last month to cover the Beacon Cycling Festival, an incredible event as Trini’s are known for going all out for their events. I wish I could’ve been there but I wasn’t so what’s the next best thing? PEZ’s series of rider interviews from Trinidad. Check it out.
BikeRoParty 3.25 » Party at Bikerowave! Friends, music, bike tools and tacos. 8pm into the night.
Fixed Gear Fest » Kicking off the Long Beach Bike Festival weekend. A big block party full of fixed gear fun. Lots of trick comps, goldsprints, DJs, food, vendors, live music (FUNDERSTORM) and a tricycle race with Long Beach City Council members. First Street in the East Village from 6pm to 11pm.
Bike Polo Friendlies » Long Beach Bike Fest will be hosting a big bike polo tournament. Up to 27 teams will face off in this day-long tournament from 10pm to 7pm. Located on the Promenade North of Broadway right next to the beer garden (cuz we all know what kind of people play bike polo, right).
Cruisin’ The Conejo » The 26th annual edition of this beautiful supported ride through Southern California country. Starting from Thousand Oaks with 6 different routes to choose from.
Eric Kautzky Memorial Track Race » Get your Northwest racing gear on. The racing season at Alpenrose Velodrome up in Portland is starting up. Proceeds from this event go to the Eric Kautzky Memorial Scholarship Fund at Tigard High School. Also, this is a qualifying event for Hellyer’s American Velodrome Challenge.
Long Beach Grand Prix » The centerpiece of the Long Beach Bike Fest. A 6-corner, 0.83-mile crit course with a 230-meter straight sprint just before the finish line. Over $1,600 in the purse plus tons of primes. This is a high-profile event and I expect all the fields to be sold out. You can bet this race will be a good show. Long Beach is doing it right.
Polomania! » Another big bike polo tourney. This one is in Amsterdam. Competition is from 10am to the end with an afterparty at Mediamatic.
Tour Of Long Beach » A 30-mile fundraiser ride for Miller Children’s Hospital. Guess what. It’s also a part of the Long Beach Bike Fest. Ride starts at 8am.
4th St. In Motion » The epic Long Beach Bike Fest continues with this family-friendly alternative transportation event. Lots of people, lots of bikes, lots of music and lots of stuff to do. It’s like Burning Man only different.
Paramount Grand Prix » The 2010 SCNCA Masters Criterium Championships taking place in Dominguez Hills. Don’t dismiss them as just some old guys. Masters racers are some of the fastest beasts in cycling and definitely the most competitive field in racing.
Giro d’Italia » The first Grand Tour of the year starts this weekend and continues for the rest of the month. You can catch coverage on Universal Sports… or on Eurosport if you’re in Europe.
Long Beach Bike Festival » Hey, have you heard about this thing called the Long Beach Bike Fest? I know I’ve already posted most of the main events up above but there’s definitely a lot of other events going on like a film festival, a fashion show, a cargo bike race and much more. I think it’s pretty rad that the City of Long Beach is putting all this together and I applaud them. They recently made it to the 23rd place in Bicycling Magazine’s top bike-friendly cities in the U.S. and one can tell that they’re trying to get higher up on that list.
“We might have to think a little bit more carefully about who focuses on what in what respect.”—David Brailsford, Great Britain’s team performance director referring to the 2012 London Olympics.
The governing body on world cycling events, Union Cycliste Internationale, just announced a change to the Olympic track cycling program that will effect multiple-medal winning nations like Great Britain. Each competing country will only be allowed to enter one athlete in the men’s and women’s Sprint, Keirin and Omnium.
This greatly affects Great Britain’s approach to the Olympics seeing as how they were able to score Gold and Silver medals in the sprint and Keirin during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
This will also affect the entire competition. Now that the top sprinting countries will not be able to send in their second-fastest guys, the slower countries will be able to take those qualification spots. The actual tournament will have a much wider spread in talent. It will no longer be a competition between the greatest athletes in the world but it will be a more diverse show-up of national champions.
Does that fall in line with the “spirit of the Olympics”? I’m not sure.
But I do know that this latest change in the program is kind of a nail in the coffin for the Olympic track cycling program. Five months ago, UCI announced they were eliminating the Individual Pursuit, Points Race and Madison and now this. I’m not writing off the Olympics entirely but I think it’s now official that the UCI Track World Championships is the much more relevant contest.
Giro d’Italia History » La Gazzetta Della Bici’s history lesson on the Giro. What it is and where it all came from.
Giro d’Italia & Eurosport » La Gazzetta’s guide to watching the Giro televised live on Eurosport (only in Britain of course).
Giro d’Italia Live Dashboard » Keep up with this year’s Giro with Steephill TV’s all-inclusive guide to live, up-to-the-minute coverage including race info, previews, live video, results, photos and highlights.
Stages Of The Giro » Among Cycling Weekly’s Giro coverage is a list and previews of each stage.
“We’ve got the natural talent but they need support… All these little investments, all these little adjustments, all these little improvements are going to make a huge difference in the future for this team and this sport.”—Australian World Champion Anna Meares, referring to a not-so-little investment from the Australian government.
The Australian federal government recently poured $400,000 into their National Team’s training facilities — the Adelaide Super-Drome (not to be confused with the Superdrome in Frisco, TX). The funding paid for a new off-track recovery zone.
Australia nabbed 10 medals during this year’s UCI Track World Championships (6 of them being the Gold variety) and you can bet they are looking to dominate the 2012 Olympics — not to mention this year’s Commonwealth Games.
So what’s it gonna take for USA to make that kind of investment in track cycling?
ATRA’s NCS includes major events from velodromes around the country. Each one of the races that is held at NCS events will count points towards the championship and the results will be tallied. Champion titles will be given for overall Men and Women as well as the Team that gains the most points over the course of the season. There will also be championship titles for each major track discipline (Sprint, Points, Individual Pursuit, etc). Read more about the NCS and see the calendar on ATRA’s website.
Meanwhile — for those of us down South (but not that far South) — San Diego Velodrome is starting up their Friday Night Racing this week. Racers who want to qualify for SD Velodrome’s world famous Tuesday Night Racing, need to start with these Friday nights.
On top of all that — weekly Tuesday Night Racing at Hellyer Park and Encino Velodrome are both going strong so if you live on the West Coast you really have no excuse not to come to the track.
In the beginning God created the bicycle, saw that it was good, then went for a nice Sunday ride on the bike lanes He’d made the day before, and they were good too, because they were new and He had the angels keep them clear of debris. Later, of course, God would get cross and have the flood wash all the good ones away.
And God said to Himself, “Let us create man, because cycling is too much fun to keep to Myself,” and so He created man, him did He create, create did He him do. And God put man in paradise, and commanded him, “Glideth upon the earth anywhere thou wisheth, except for that big hill over there. For on the day thou goeth down that hill, thou shalt surely die.”
And God said, “Man needs a companion to keep him from spending too much money on new bicycles.” So God caused man to fall into a deep sleep by asking him if he wanted to go clothes shopping at the mall, then took a rib from him. Then God said to Himself, “Who am I kidding, I’ll never hear the end of it when she finds out she was just a rib,” so He created woman from frankincense and myrrh and a certain je ne sais quoi.
And God said, “Let man have dominion over lathe drills and Philips head screwdrivers, and let woman have dominion over everything else, and as long as thou art naked and unashamed, thou might as well be fruitful and multiply.”
Lastly, God created the chicken and the egg, in that order, which should clear up that matter.
Now the serpent, he was a wily one, and he said to woman, “Yea, hath God said you may cycle anywhere but down that hill?”
And the woman said unto the serpent, “That’s about the size of it: go downhill and die.” And the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die, you probably won’t even fall off. For God doth know that on the day you go downhill, you will not need to pedal for a long time. Go on, give it a try.”
And the woman saw that the hill was good, she did not need to pedal for a long time. She told the man about it, and he also went downhill. Their eyes were opened, they saw they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves into padded cycling shorts because sometimes it got bumpy going downhill.
And they heard the voice of God as He was off-road, fully suspended of course, and they hid their bicycles at the bottom of the hill and started whistling nervously. And God called unto the man, and said, “Where art thou?”
And the man said, “We art down here.”
And God said, “Hast thou cycled downhill, whereoff I commanded thee that thou shouldest not?” And man said, “C’mon, it was her idea.”
And God said unto the woman, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow whilst climbing hills; in pain shalt thou perch upon thy saddle.”
And God said unto the man, “Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, cursed is regular bike maintenance. The inner workings of the hub gear will be beyond thou to repair. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou service thy freewheel.”
And God said, “Behold, the man doesn’t listen very well,” so he kicked him out of paradise and guarded the entrance with a sign of a picture of a bicycle in the middle of a red circle. And He had a Cherubim with a flaming sword stop by a few times a week for good measure.
This is the book of the generations. The first bicycle was a single speed, Godspeed, but after that it got complicated. Sprockets begat sprockets and cables begat kinks. Celerifere begat Draisienne begat Macmillan begat Michaux begat Ariel begat Bayliss Thomas begat Lawson begat Rover begat Boneshaker begat Ordinary begat Raleigh.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth in a critical mass, God saw that the wickedness of man was great and he did not like to give way to anyone on the road even his mother, so He directed Noah to build an ark made out of renewable resources. There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark every type of bicycle: one to ride and one for spare parts. And Noah gathered two touring bikes and two mountain bikes; two recumbents and two tandems; two road racing bikes and two cross bikes; also four unicycles, just in case there was a misunderstanding, and a brace of Bromptons, as their folded countenance pleasethed Him. And God said there might be Some strong winds in the Southeast. And it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, then drizzled for another fortnight.
And God remembered Noah and asswaged the waters, and Noah opened a door on the ark and set loose Japheth on a unicycle, and God said, “This is a covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature: that a man on a unicycle is a hilarious sight. The waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
A bit later, God spake unto Moses, saying, Here are a few ground rules, I hath numbered them for thou for easy reference:
I. Thou shalt hold no other races above the Tour de France.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee helmets which cost more than £100.
III. Thou shalt not take My name in vain everytime thou gettest a flat tyre.
IV. Remember to oil thy chain, to keep it rolling.
V. Honor the Zebra Crossing and those walking upon the face of it.
VI. Thou shalt not ignore other road users, nor cycle recklessly upon the pavement.
VII. Thou shalt not steal bicycles.
VIII. Thou shalt not kill, except bicycle thieves.
IX. Thou shalt not hang onto moving cars.
X. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s new Cannondale, nor his group set, nor his £3000 MTB, nor even his stylish shades.
Forget not the Titanium Rule: Signal unto others as thou wouldst have others signal unto thou.
And moving right along, there came four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and they were the Taxicab Driver, and the Motorcycle Messenger, and the White Van Man, and the Man Opening a Car Door Without Looking.