The world’s greatest track cyclists, a technology-driven live show, a global broadcast strategy and ambitious marketing approach ensured the second season went from strength-to-strength and succeeded in continuing to elevate the sport to new levels.
Claudio Imhof (Switzerland), Jennifer Valente (United States), Matthew Richardson (Australia) and Mathilde Gros (France) – are the latest riders to see their names etched onto the UCI Track Champions League trophy after another season of awe-inspiring racing.
Having just completed the second year of this ambitious eight-year project presented by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Discovery Sports Events, the UCI Track Champions League is succeeding in its mission of elevating track cycling to new levels and reaching new audiences. Its short, sharp racing format is easy to understand and its elaborate stage show, data capture and innovative official app – powered by AWS – provide a more immersive fan experience.
The second season expanded to visit four locations (up one from last season) across five rounds. Round 1 and “super launch” of the season kicked off in Mallorca, Spain, in mid November. Round 2 and 3 saw the introduction of two new velodromes to the league, with the Berlin Velodrom in Germany and the Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France. The season then concluded with a grande finale, as London hosted a doubleheader on two consecutive nights for rounds 4 and 5.
72 of the world’s greatest riders (36 male and 36 female) took part – 33 returning for a second season and 39 (19 male and 20 female) making their debuts. They each competed for equal prize money.
Overall, these riders represented 60 UCI Track World Championships titles and 28 Olympic medals between them, making this one of the highest-level competitions in track cycling.
Short-format, high-performance racing: the sporting highlights
Utilising unparalleled rider data courtesy of official series partner AWS, the UCI Track Champions League continued to enhance fans’ understanding of the sport.
Audiences were able to dive into the riders’ data via the official UCI Track Champions League app, exploring power, speed, heart rate and cadence stats among a wealth of other features.
Some of the stand-out figures included the 2,271 watts of peak power which Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands) was able to produce in the first heat of the Men’s Sprint in London – the highest power of any rider. Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) topped the female power standings with her 1,525 watts in the sprint semi-final in Berlin, beating her previous-best peak power by 25 watts.
The action also saw Matthew Richardson clock the highest speed of the season when he averaged an incredible 73.2km/h over 200m to beat Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) in the Men’s Keirin final in Round 5. Kelsey Mitchell meanwhile, averaged 65km/h over 200m when she held off Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands) to win Heat 2 of the Women’s Keirin in Round 3.
Elsewhere, Sarah Van Dam (Canada) and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) recorded the highest heart rate throughout the series, both reaching a staggering 209bpm.
A total of 150 races took place across the five rounds, with 20 different riders emerging triumphant at least once, showcasing just how competitive the 2022 field was. Throughout the series as well, a total of 824 laps were completed, reaching a combined distance of 206km.
A worldwide audience
The UCI Track Champions League was built to advance the profile of track cycling beyond its traditional audience, reaching millions of new fans with its thrilling, short-format racing. Alongside discovery+, Eurosport and GCN+, the technology-driven live show was broadcast globally across additional international channels, bringing the sport to many new screens. The live broadcasts also featured expert analysis from the likes of series ambassadors Sir Chris Hoy and Kristina Vogel as well as five-time UCI Track World Champion Joanna Rowsell.
Crowds en masse
Along with the millions of viewers watching at home, more than 18,000 spectators filled the velodromes to witness the racing live, including a sold-out crowd inside London’s Lee Valley VeloPark for the final round.
Social Media rise
The continued success of the league has also brought new audiences to its social channels that featured interactive and behind-the-scenes content created to tell the story of the race. Overall, a total of 25.2m video views over the five rounds of the second season were achieved, with 52.19m individuals reached across both the UCI TCL & Eurosport social media platforms. Riders also contributed to the increased engagement in the series by sharing their own content to their fan base, whilst the Eurosport digital channels brought the excitement of the racing to the mainstream audience.
Reflecting on the success of the second season, President of the UCI David Lappartient said: “After the inaugural edition in 2021, we were once again spellbound by the action that unfolded weekend after weekend in some of the most prestigious velodromes in Europe. Being able to access and study the riders’ data provided an extra dimension to the fan experience, one of the aims of the UCI’s partnership with Discovery Sports Events.
“This year, we crowned four new overall winners from four different countries and three continents. This is proof of track cycling’s global appeal and depth of talent.”
Andrew Georgiou, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said: “The ability of our Discovery Sports Events business in managing and promoting all aspects of a sports event is truly unmatched and continues to innovate and excite the sport of track cycling in its role as a trusted global partner to the UCI. The success of the second series of the UCI Track Champions League was built on a bedrock of innovation and true events expertise to the credit of the entire Discovery Sports Events team.
“By adding Paris and Berlin – two key strategic markets for our sports business in Europe – to the calendar in 2022 and by crowning new champions from four different nations, we have told the stories from the sport and its athletes for broad audiences. We are excited about the opportunities ahead to continue delivering the best product that will engage fans while further growing track cycling between Olympic Games’ and we can’t wait to return with even bigger and bolder plans for 2023.”
After a stunning 2022 series where four new champions were crowned, attention is already turning to the 2023 season. More exciting racing is guaranteed and further technological advancements are already in place to deliver an even more immersive fan experience.