Friday, 18 December 2009

UCI Fucks Omnium

As reported in Cyclingnews this morning, the UCI has implemented changes to the omnium, introducing a sixth event: the elimination, and extending the flying 200m to a flying 250m. Apart from Cyclingnews not getting that the original 200m was flying, never standing, these modifications change the nature of the omnium from one where an enduro with a reasonable kick could do well, to being a dog's breakfast of full length endurance events. Sprinterly types need not apply.

I understand if these changes were made solely for the Olymnpic program, with this omnium format known as the Olympic Omnium. Makes sense.

But no, the UCI in their incredible policy-making, well-meaning, poorly -judged governance, has decided that these changes will be across the board, commencing with the World Champs next year. So those poor cherubs who have been training for the current, sorry, former omnium format, will now have to suddenly reconsider that event, or beef their training up to be able to meet the new distances imposed, whilst getting their brains around the new format.

Sounds to me like the UCI is trying to have its cake and throw it in our little trackie faces too. As an omnium promoter, this has ramifications for me locally. It certainly makes the omnium harder, particularly as we use it to encourage newbies and novices out into the competitive arena. It will also impact on our entries, as we will lose some girls with the increased distances. Masters and junior distances will remain as is. It makes for a longer day, which impacts on our officials and helpers, as well as the competitors. Already it's an 8 hour day for 50 odd competitors. How feasible will it be to run one, even as a State Championship, locally?

Of course, that may be the UCI's secret plan: making the thing so long it can't be raced in one day. So, it is raced over 2 or 3 days. Guess what?! We are then back to having "normal" pursuits, points etc, well as normal as you can get without having them as individual events. Maybe this is a clever, sneaky ploy on behalf of the UCI? Maybe they are not as self absorbed as I am currently thinking they are....??? But somehow, I doubt it... it will just be one incredibly long, arduous day for all concerned, officials and competitors.

I think it's time for the Olympics to lose it's be-all end-all focus for track cycling, as it has done in equestrian disciplines, and other sports, where World Cups and World Championships carry more kudos than an Olympic medal. Let's face it, the Olympics is not that important for road cyclists, where the Tour de France and Classics hold more weight for the elites/pros. Hmm maybe the new omnium will for those roadies as well.

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