The UEC Track Elite European Championships open on Wednesday at the Velodrome National de France in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – venue of the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Five days of competition will see 280 athletes (95 women and 185 men) compete for 22 titles and will provide the first opportunity for the crowd in the velodrome – and on Eurosport – to see the impact of the new track regulations agreed by the UCI in Doha recently.
The first of those changes – the introduction of the Madison for women means that for the first time men and women will be competing for the same number of medals across the Championship programme – although the week will also see a 23rd title – the opening evening programme for the will feature the Stayer European Championships with the big motorbikes up on the track as part of the overall programme for the first time.
This will also be the first chance for the public to see the new omnium format (4 bunch races on one day).
Coming so soon after Rio 2016, the Championships will be an opportunity to see some of the stars of Tokyo 2020 as teams start to experiment at the start of the new Olympic cycle. Even so, there will be three gold medalists from Rio de Janeiro – Steven Burke, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker – and a number of world champions including Spain’s Sebastian Mora (Scratch), the Italian Filippo Ganna (Individual Pursuit), Poland’s Katarzyna Pawlowska (Points Race) and the Team Sprint Champions Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova of Russia. Voinova, of course, also won the 500m Time Trial this year.
Also competing will be the French multiple champion and winner of three stages of the Tour de France Sylvain Chavanel, sprinters Robin Wagner (Czech Republic), Kevin Sireau (France), Sam Ligtlee (Netherlands) and Alexander Dubchenko (Russia), and the Dutch rider former Scratch World Champion Kirsten Wild – silver medalist at last week’s 2016 Road World Championships in Doha – and the new Junior Road World Champion, Italy’s Elisa Balsamo – who also won two World and European titles (Team Pursuit and Junior Omnium) this summer.