UCI Track Champions' League

Nope, not got ES at the moment. A lot of friends were though, and they enjoyed it, but that's due to a few of them having personal connections to one of the riders and the rest being cycling fans.

From the highlights I've seen I'm unconvinced it's going to bring any fans outside of cycling to the sport, but it might drag in some fans of other types of racing, as long as it doesn't clash with the CX. The window fits at least.
 
Maybe the fact that the great launch has passed with almost no comment on CN forums tells its own story, but was this thought to be worthwhile and with great potential, or the indoor equivalent of the Hammer Series?

All the lights and razzamataz I could do without, but I am a boring old man, and that is probably more for the benefit of the crowd in the venue. I watched it the day after, and fast forwarded through all that.

In terms of the format changes, I am happy enough with the lack of repechages, and the 20km scratch races were better than I had expected, but three-way sprints will lack much of the tactical variety of two-up races.

I'm not sure that it is going to draw in any new fans, which is presumably the intention of all the bells and whistles, but I often underestimate how much 'new and shiny' attracts some people.

But more than anything, I think it shows that there is a problem with depth of talent. Selecting the "best 18 in the world" (are they really?) for each section doesn't give 18 competitive riders.
 
All the lights and razzamataz I could do without, but I am a boring old man, and that is probably more for the benefit of the crowd in the venue.
I think quite a bit of thought has gone into how it looked on TV - cf the CGI screen over the start line - so I would respectively disagree with your take that the lights were solely for the folk in the audience.
 
A large part of the lack of activity in this forum is probably that it doesn't feed into the New Posts or What's New tabs.
Apart from the trending threads (which desperately needs a refresh loop to reset the data) the What's New tab just has a list of the latest threads to be posted in. It feeds in, but unsurprisingly it'll drop down very quickly as the majority of posting happens elsewhere. The only way to change that is more activity...




On you question about the riders, defining best is always going to be hard, but the line ups in both sprints and the women's endurance catergories look very solid. The men's endurance line-up isn't, but I think that was fairly predictable. It might be local bias, but the women's racing is the thing I've seen pushed more here, so maybe the organisers are aware of this?
 
From the highlights I've seen I'm unconvinced it's going to bring any fans outside of cycling to the sport
Yeah, even as a long time cycling fan I didn't really engage with it a great deal. I enjoyed it enough, it's fast paced and all that, but I was never really rooting for anyone (ok, maybe in the Devil I was hoping and praying that Emily Kay wouldn't go out in the first lap but what can I say, I'm patriotic to a fault) even though I watched it all. During the Worlds I more or less had a favourite for each round but here ... maybe it'll take a little time to buy into it.

Buying into it is one issue I have: short of the Worlds not a lot of track cycling is really competitive, that side of the sport ate itself a long time ago, and so the UCI have a bit of work to do to convince the cynics and the sceptics that this is real racing. And yeah, to a large extent, on Saturday the riders looked like they were really going for it (apart from say Ed Clancy who rocked up riding like he'd not been on the bike in ages).

It's a pity it's three weeks to the next round (I presume that that's because of the French hosts pulling out) but I'm willing to give it time to grow.
 
Apart from the trending threads (which desperately needs a refresh loop to reset the data) the What's New tab just has a list of the latest threads to be posted in. It feeds in, but unsurprisingly it'll drop down very quickly as the majority of posting happens elsewhere. The only way to change that is more activity...
It belongs on the about the forum section, where I have raised equivalent issues a few times, so I won't comment further on this here except to say that at present the What's New tab has links going back to 1st Nov, but not to this thread.
 
It belongs on the about the forum section, where I have raised equivalent issues a few times, so I won't comment further on this here except to say that at present the What's New tab has links going back to 1st Nov, but not to this thread.
You must be seeing something different to me. On the What's New tab I can see a list of 5 Trending Threads (this is where they need to correct their algorithm) and directly under it a list of Latest Threads, in which this thread appears.
 
Yeah, even as a long time cycling fan I didn't really engage with it a great deal. I enjoyed it enough, it's fast paced and all that, but I was never really rooting for anyone (ok, maybe in the Devil I was hoping and praying that Emily Kay wouldn't go out in the first lap but what can I say, I'm patriotic to a fault) even though I watched it all. During the Worlds I more or less had a favourite for each round but here ... maybe it'll take a little time to buy into it.

Buying into it is one issue I have: short of the Worlds not a lot of track cycling is really competitive, that side of the sport ate itself a long time ago, and so the UCI have a bit of work to do to convince the cynics and the sceptics that this is real racing. And yeah, to a large extent, on Saturday the riders looked like they were really going for it (apart from say Ed Clancy who rocked up riding like he'd not been on the bike in ages).

It's a pity it's three weeks to the next round (I presume that that's because of the French hosts pulling out) but I'm willing to give it time to grow.
It feels a bit like an attempt to create a "post GT crit series" for track and take away from any 6-day competitions. I can kind of understand why they'd do that, but in road racing many people are fans of riders from other countries who they want to see. Here, we have riders who are, for the most part, only known because of their track racing that is almost exclusively national competition based (because the UCI are trying their damnedest to kill track trade teams). The people tuning in are likely doing it to see people from their country race, but they can do that by tuning into the track racing that already exists. With that in mind I'm struggling to see the appeal here with the difference in competition. Sure, if your countryman/woman is good in these events you might watch, but if they don't excel in these events you'll just watch the world cup racing, where you get to watch others race too.

I'm a huge keirin fan, it's one of the few things for which I would pay money to watch on TV, but even I wasn't attracted to this enough to want to watch it. I was free at the time so I easily could have, and I'm set up to pay for ES and be watching within a minute, so there wasn't really any barriers. It just seemed like a chopped down competition, shoe-horned into a TV production.

I do think they've made a good choice of events however. The elimination race forces drama, and both the elimination and scratch race are easy to follow compared to the points race or a madison (and while the spectacle of the madison may get people to watch at first, they'll stop fairly soon if they have no idea what's going on). I watched a few of the sprints on YouTube and I didn't mind the 3-up racing. It does seem to force the issue and changes things up.

To sum up, it feels a little bit like a half-hearted attempted to steal some 6 day thunder. I don't think they've changed things up enough to make it appeal to fans outside of those who already watch track, and the lack of competition is going to have them turning off unless they happen to be fans of the few riders who'll win or really desperate to watch anything.

Commentary struggling to tell the difference between Edmondson and Archibald in the elimination race, when Archibald is riding the Hope bike, was a bit of a slip. Maybe they should have made the kits a bit more obvious.
 
I do think they've made a good choice of events however. The elimination race forces drama, and both the elimination and scratch race are easy to follow compared to the points race or a madison (and while the spectacle of the madison may get people to watch at first, they'll stop fairly soon if they have no idea what's going on).
The Devil was the best of the night, though some of the TV production could be improved (each time the riders hit the line the camera lingered on the line afterwards, showing nothing of import). I quite liked the three-up sprints, it changes the gameplay nicely.
I'm struggling to see the appeal here with the difference in competition. Sure, if your countryman/woman is good in these events you might watch, but if they don't excel in these events you'll just watch the world cup racing, where you get to watch others race too.
Ireland doesn't have much track pedigree (with the notable exception of the heroic Felix English who put Chris Hoy to the sword) but there is some up-and-coming talent. Emily Kay? Let's say it's complicated. Nothing against her but not going to cheer for her just cause she handed in her GB licence and took out an Irish one. The granny rule, it's complicated the way we respond to it. (We've had to live with this since forever. Teddy Hale won the Madison Square Garden International Six Day Race in 1896 as an Irishman but he was really English with no Irish roots.)
To sum up, it feels a little bit like a half-hearted attempted to steal some 6 day thunder.
This, and your point about it maybe being a post-GT crit series, is probably the main fear I have for it. Sixes are great if you're there but ... they're a circus, nothing more, we all know that . Quite what the UCI is doing I still don't follow. Obviously they're trying to bring an audience to track cycling but to do that they need competitive races. If this is just a series of one-night Sixes?

As yet, I don't fully grasp how the riders were selected. Emily Kay, say, is more suited to the Europa Cup than the Champions' League. And that makes thinking of it as fully competitive difficult, no matter how hard the winners on the night worked.
 
Ireland doesn't have much track pedigree (with the notable exception of the heroic Felix English who put Chris Hoy to the sword) but there is some up-and-coming talent. Emily Kay? Let's say it's complicated. Nothing against her but not going to cheer for her just cause she handed in her GB licence and took out an Irish one. The granny rule, it's complicated the way we respond to it. (We've had to live with this since forever. Teddy Hale won the Madison Square Garden International Six Day Race in 1896 as an Irishman but he was really English with no Irish roots.)
And of course one of Ireland's biggest talents, Josie Knight, switched to GB in 2018 and won a silver in the team pursuit at the Olympics. I know she has said that rode for Ireland because that's where she was, rather than considering herself Irish, but that just complicates things further it seems, especially as it seemed like a swap with Kay previously competing in the TP for GB.

This, and your point about it maybe being a post-GT crit series, is probably the main fear I have for it. Sixes are great if you're there but ... they're a circus, nothing more, we all know that . Quite what the UCI is doing I still don't follow. Obviously they're trying to bring an audience to track cycling but to do that they need competitive races. If this is just a series of one-night Sixes?
The cynic in me would suggest that this is a form of racing the UCI hold huge control over, so if they are looking to generate money it's the one where they'll likely reap the biggest rewards. It feels like they're trying to position it on top of the other competitions, like that final tennis series that's run. Maybe this will have an impact on who is invited.

As yet, I don't fully grasp how the riders were selected. Emily Kay, say, is more suited to the Europa Cup than the Champions' League. And that makes thinking of it as fully competitive difficult, no matter how hard the winners on the night worked.
The women's fields pretty much read like an Olympic Keirin/Sprint and Omnium starter list, with some obvious names missing who likely had other commitments and some riders filling in. How many remain missing if this goes beyond 1 year will be interesting. To be fair to Kay, if it were to be decided based on things like that her 13th in the Omnium at the Olympics places her right between Edmondson and Balsamo, both of whom you'd expect to see on a list of potential competitors.

Similarly the mens sprint field has a lot of the names you'd expect to see. It's the mens endurance field that's going to be tough to drag up to that level if that's their intention. Using the omnium again there's Gavin Hoover there and I think that's it. There's also multiple nations with 2 riders, whereas only Spain has two riders in the women's endurance field and I think that probably highlights the difficulty they had in attracting top riders to the event.

All that really just highlights that track sprinters will obviously turn up if they can, because they don't have anything else to race in, women's endurance riders will turn up because it's likely decent money in relation to their salaries and they're not in a position to turn it down, and it'll take a lot to attract top male endurance riders to race in the off-season, who likely are on big enough contracts that they can turn this down (or their teams just say no).
 
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I watched a little bit, but usually I'm not interested in track cycling and this format won't change that. The lighting was showy, but not what I need or want to see in a sports competition, I don't need the track super bowl. Well, for me it was nice to see Hinze (and Friedrich), but that was it. I might tune in here and there, like I sometimes do with track cycling, but no, this is not made to draw people like me in. To be fair I have no idea what could be done to reach that, but shorter events and more light shows are not the way. Maybe more nations, a possibility to get to know the individual riders a bit more, and, if anything, longer distances, would be nicer for me.
 
Regarding 3-up sprints: they're nothing new, even at the 1992 Olympics the first two rounds were still 3-up, and I'm fairly sure one of the World Professional Sprint titles in the 50's that Reg Harris won was a 3-up final, but that was just our Continental cousins trying to prevent a British win. Some track leagues and track carnivals still have 3-up sprints including finals.

Regarding mixing up Katie and Nettie: absolutely no excuse, but the stylised flags on the sleeves were likely the issue ... because the Aussie flag includes the Union Jack and that part of the flag seemed too prominent on Nettie's kit.

Regarding no trade teams: the small town mayor should try introduce that at the Tour and see how it goes over, it has been the format in the past after all. I fully expect the small town mayor to make more stupid changes before the Paris Olympics.

Regarding Paris pulling out of a track series: not the first time.
 
I watched a little bit, but usually I'm not interested in track cycling and this format won't change that. The lighting was showy, but not what I need or want to see in a sports competition, I don't need the track super bowl. Well, for me it was nice to see Hinze (and Friedrich), but that was it. I might tune in here and there, like I sometimes do with track cycling, but no, this is not made to draw people like me in. To be fair I have no idea what could be done to reach that, but shorter events and more light shows are not the way. Maybe more nations, a possibility to get to know the individual riders a bit more, and, if anything, longer distances, would be nicer for me.
Longer events would seem to be at odds with what everyone thinks people want (shorter races which supposedly means harder racing from the get go). I think it might be interesting in say, a points race, to see how this played out with greater fatigue. I'm not sure it's a good idea for a scratch race but maybe it would work.
 
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Ten miles (i.e. 16k and a bit) is plenty long for a scratch race and I wish for this series, or at least the UK dates, that distance is used for any scratch race.
The Commonwealth Games had a Ten for decades when the the World's or Olympics had no scratch race of any kind.
If you want longer races on the track maybe bring the big motors back! Greta might not approve though.
 
Longer events would seem to be at odds with what everyone thinks people want (shorter races which supposedly means harder racing from the get go).
I'm not sure how fair that is here. The whole evening is three hours. Quite a long three hours with little or no down time. Sure, the endurance events have been cut down to size, but if they weren't you'd 1) have a longer evening; and 2) the endurance riders would really be being asked to endure. There's a lot to be said against trying to appeal to Gen-ADD (if it even exists) but I'm not sure this is doing that.
 
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Cycling, for some reason, loves numbers. And so, like many a race organiser, the UCI has turned to numbers to heap on the hype ahead of Round 2 of the Champions League on Saturday.

The racing in numbers
72 riders in the inaugural series, spanning 30 nationalities
63 UCI Track Cycling World Championship titles and 29 Olympic medals between them
72 custom Santini skinsuits created, each displaying riders’ sponsors
206 laps (51.5km) of racing completed across 30 races
75kph – top speed reached by Men’s Keirin winner Stefan Bötticher

The technical setup in numbers
540,000 lumens of light via 26 video projectors delivered a unique visual spectacle
285 meters of LED wall and strip displays – a world first for a track cycling event

Behind the scenes broadcasting in numbers
80 team members produced the international TV feed and programme – benefitting from augmented reality graphics, a spider camera, onboard rider, super slow motion and 360 cameras
– On TV: 26 international broadcasters around 5 continents covered round 1, including discovery+, Eurosport and GCN+, with a host of studio pundits and commentators narrating the action
– Onsite: Over 3000 fans attended the first ever round of the UCI Track Champions League

3,000 punters packing the Velòdrom Illes Balears in Mallorca on the opening night sounds a lot (though surely not a lot to excite those who think road racing is somehow missing out on turnstile takings) but back in the waywayback, back when track racing was bigger than road, you'd get 12,000 punters in Madison Square Garden, it took 15,000 paying punters to fill the Vélodrome Buffalo, 20,000 would turn up in the Parc des Princes and in Germany, where track racing was massive, the Friedenau Sportpark in Berlin boasted a capacity of 40,000 that was often exceeded by eager fans.

The big question, of course, is what's the TV audience, something the UCI are surprisingly quiet on when it comes to bragging about numbers. Will you be adding to that audience and tuning in on Saturday night?
 
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Apparently in 1904, a record 30,000 paying punters jammed the Sydney Cricket Grounds to see Major Taylor and a few other seppo's take on Australia's best track riders for some very large purses.
 

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