BACk on track now available
Episode one and two of the all-new behind the scenes documentary series showcasing the UCI Track Champions League
is now available on Eurosport App and GCN+ (available later on discovery+*), with new episodes released on a weekly basis therein.
To watch the series on Eurosport App click here, or on GCN+ (every Monday at midnight) click here and discovery+ click here .
Episode 5 - May 2 2022
The finale of Back on Track witnesses the hotly contested Men’s Endurance League reach a controversial conclusion after a high-speed crash results in a race relegation for series leader Sebastián Mora.
On a night of close finishes and intense rivalries, fellow rider Kelland O’Brien visits Mora in the track center immediately afterwards to give his thoughts in the heat of the moment. “That was your fault, no buts”, shouts the Australian over the roaring crowd as Mora protests, “ [just give] a few more millimeters”.
In the final episode of the series, Mora and O’Brien aren’t the only riders at odds with each other. Compatriots and close teammates Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich reveal how their friendship is quickly forgotten on the track when just two points separate them in the standings. “We were both in the same box, warming up at the same time. We went to the start line together but we didn’t talk at all. Somehow for me, it doesn’t matter who your rival is at that moment. All that matters is winning.” says Hinze.
The steely determination of Hinze is not lost on other riders either. Fellow series champion Gavin Hoover adds “I would not want to race her, that’s all I would say. You can just see the intensity in her eyes when she’s walking around. She wants to win, and she’ll go hard for it.”
Away from the rivalries, episode five also focuses on the retirements of several big name riders as they compete in the last race of their careers. Annette Edmondson, Kirsten Wild and Ed Clancy all speak to the camera and reflect on their time in track cycling.
Viewers are also treated to a moment-by-moment breakdown by Katie Archibald of the series’ final Elimination race that brought the crowd to its feet, giving an insight into the mind of the supremely dominant series champion.
As the series draws to a close, Archibald looks back to round one and considers the potential for the new league to change the sport: “In the Mallorca round, we all sat down for a rider briefing and we had this really rousing speech from the head of Discovery Sports Events about how much they were backing track cycling. It gave me goosebumps. It’s my career, and to have somebody say ‘we think the world cares about this’ is nice… it’s really more than nice.”
Episode 4 - April 25 2022
Episode four of Back on Track sees UCI Track Champions League Endurance Champion Gavin Hoover, one of the two American riders in the series, reflect on what drew him to the sport. “They had the UCI World Championships in Los Angeles in 2006. At 9 I went to watch and I was like ‘this is what I want to do’”.
The latest episode, set to air on Monday 25 April, heads to Anadia, Portugal, to interview the 24 year old who went into the league as an underdog. With the biggest win of his career within arm’s reach, Hoover discusses the cycling idols that inspired him: “I think everyone my age in the US was looking at Lance, but for me, I was looking at Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara. On the track, it was guys like Joan Llaneras, who was just dominant when I was watching it.”
Episode four begins at the Lee Valley Velodrome, London – home of track cycling at the 2012 Olympic Games. The venue is set to host two back-to-back rounds of the league, making for a thrilling finale. For many riders, it will be the last race of their careers. Ed Clancy, three-time Team Pursuit Olympic gold medalist, looks back with fond memories on racing at the velodrome as he takes to the track one last time. “Every time I walk into this building, I feel starstruck by the place. I get flashbacks. It’s certainly a special place.” says Clancy.
Also retiring are fellow veterans and multiple UCI World Champions Annette Edmondson and Kirsten Wild – both of whom are aiming to topple Women’s Endurance League leader Katie Archibald at her home venue.
In the Men’s Endurance category, the three-way battle between Sebastián Mora, Corbin Strong and Gavin Hoover heats up as one of the trio loses ground in a dramatic Elimination race.
Among the interviewees in episode four is Germany’s Stefan Bötticher, key rival to Men’s Sprint League leader Harrie Lavreysen. Bötticher discusses his love for speed – be it on the boards of the track or behind the wheel of a car on a German autobahn – and sheds light on the innovative ‘neuro-athletics’ practices that give him a competitive edge. “I had a bad crash, I fell on my head and had a concussion. [Afterwards], I had some problems activating my muscles. I use a new system from the USA, it’s eye training with different colored balls, different head movements. Djokovic does a lot of work with this too.” says Bötticher.
Meanwhile, his compatriots and fellow sprinters Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich continue their intense rivalry on the track as the series reaches its penultimate episode. A 65km/h collision transforms the league standings, leaving just one point between the two ahead of the fourth and final round.
Episode 3 - April 18 2022
German track sprinter Emma Hinze lifts the lid on the high-pressure environment of the UCI Track Champions League in episode three of Back on Track – set to air on Monday 18 April.
In the latest show, the league’s inaugural Sprint champion addresses the media’s natural comparisons made between her and German track cycling legend Kristina Vogel. Multiple UCI World Champion and Olympic medalist Hinze is clear to state that whilst she has huge respect for the achievements of her fellow countrywoman, she is focused only on her own performance, saying “I don’t intend to emulate any records, I just want to do it my way”.
Hinze’s thoughts on the topic come in the third episode of the series, set in round 2 of the league, in Panevėžys, Lithuania. The episode begins with a visit to the apartment of Lithuanian rider Olivija Baleisyte, for a discussion on what drives her to succeed as she looks ahead to the excitement of a home crowd cheering her on.
On track, once the racing gets underway, close rivalries develop in the Men’s Endurance League as unexpected results close up the standings, while the Women’s Endurance League takes a very different turn. Viewers visit Villareal, Spain and get to know series contender Sebastián Mora behind the scenes.
The documentary series also travels to the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland to meet UCI Track Champions League riders Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago), Miriam Vece (Italy), Jaïr Tjon En Fa (Suriname) and Jai Angsuthasawit (Thailand) – all members of the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC). Designed to provide training facilities and resources to riders from non-traditional cycling nations, the UCI WCC sees the four athletes live, train and compete together.
Back at the Cido Arena in Panevėžys, Nicholas Paul goes head to head with league leader Harrie Lavreysen in the Men’s Sprint while the battle between compatriots and close friends Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrch continues.
Episode 2 - April 11 2022
The second episode in this five-part series begins with a closer look at the Men’s Endurance category – a battle without a clear favorite, but not lacking in talent. Among the contenders for the category title is Corbin Strong (New Zealand), who sits in the interview chair for the first time.
Viewers are also transported to Glasgow to meet double Olympic gold medalist Katie Archibald to learn about what drives her to succeed. In Mallorca, her fierce battle continues with Dutch veteran Kirsten Wild, with both riders searching for a strong performance in a dramatic Elimination Race after disappointing results in the Scratch.
In the Sprint, close friends and teammates Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich navigate the difficulties of competing against each other at the very highest level, each feeling the pressure. Meanwhile, fellow Women’s Sprint rider Mathilde Gros discusses her disappointing Olympic campaign, and aspirations for the league. On the path to become a professional basketball player, she left it all for a career in track cycling, and a dream of gold.
As the episode reaches its conclusion, we travel to Lithuania for the second round of the league and meet local sporting legend Simona Krupeckaitė – a rider set to retire who’s hoping for one last big result in front of the capacity home crowd.
The second episode of the series will be broadcast on Eurosport Player and GCN+ on April 11 (available later on discovery+*).
Episode 1 - April 4 2022
The first episode of the season begins in Mallorca, Spain, as the riders prepare for Round 1 of the inaugural UCI Track Champions League. It captures the sense of anticipation as the athletes head into a brand new format of racing.
As the story of round 1 unfolds on track, viewers are introduced to the series’ key protagonists, starting with the Netherlands’ Harrie Lavreysen – nine-time UCI World Champion and double Olympic gold medalist – one to watch in the Sprint category.
The episode delves into Lavreysen’s past, looking at the origins of the Dutchman’s career in track cycling – a sport he first took to after giving up BMX as a result of dislocating his shoulder more than 50 times.
Among the personalities viewers also meet in episode one is fellow track sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Kelsey Mitchell (Canada), who recounts her extraordinary rise to the very top of the sport in the space of just three years.
Rivalries develop as the racing unfolds, while riders struggle to adapt to the fast-paced nature of the new series. Episode one draws to a close with all eyes turning to the tight-fought battle in the Men’s Endurance category, and round two to come.
PREMIERE - MARCH 30 2022
Launched at an exclusive global premiere in London today, Back on Track is a five-part series that goes behind-the-scenes of the 75kmh sprints and lung-busting solo attacks of this ambitious and dynamic new league.
Four months on from the league’s nerve-shredding final round in London, Back on Track will give viewers an exclusive access-all-areas pass into season one of the UCI Track Champions League.
The series follows a diverse cast of multiple gold medallists and UCI World Champions including Harrie Lavreysen, Emma Hinze, Katie Archibald and Gavin Hoover, unearthing the intense rivalries and unlikely friendships forged both on and off the track.
The result is a docuseries that uncovers the surprising personal tales behind the latest, exciting chapter in track cycling’s development. From Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell – who went from soccer player to Olympic track cyclist in the space of three years – to Emma Hinze and Lea Friedrich – friends, teammates and intense rivals on the track – each rider has a story to tell.
The UCI Track Champions League, developed by the UCI in partnership with Discovery Sports Events, was first conceived to build the global profile of track cycling beyond the four-year Olympic cycle, bringing a fresh new approach to the sport’s racing format designed to attract existing and new fans alike.
Commenting on the new series at the official ‘Back on Track’ premiere, David Lappartient, President of the UCI said:
“We want track cycling to be followed not only by experts in the discipline, but also by people completely new to the sport. We want to enrich and renew its audience. Track cycling produces incredible moments of spectacular sport and intense emotion. Back on Track highlights that but also uncovers the tension, joys and disappointments track centre, which normally go largely unseen to the outside world. It is a great development for our sport.
François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sport Events, added:
“Back on Track is, in many ways, the ‘trailer’ for the next season of the UCI Track Champions League. We gave the producers carte blanche with this series to tell the stories of the riders – their personal challenges, friendships and rivalries, and highest and lowest moments. With this new series, we have shown some track cycling stories that normally only the friends and family of the riders know. The title ‘Back on Track’ was chosen almost immediately in the production process as it expresses perfectly our desire to give this highly entertaining discipline the global profile it deserves.”
UCI Track Champions League ambassador and track cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy said:
“I’m really impressed. It would be tempting to manufacture drama and create interest. This series hasn’t done that. There are so many interesting stories and personalities to take in; so many facets to these riders, and the more you watch, the more you’ll identify with the athletes. That’s what will draw new fans to this sport.”
Emma Hinze, 2021 UCI Track Champions League Sprint Champion, added:
“I’m impressed time and again by the league, especially by last week’s premiere! It’s really special for me to watch the documentary – I got goosebumps during the screening. I think it’s cool that the series focussed on my relationship with Lea during the racing. Sometimes it’s hard to compete against each other and remain friends, and it’s interesting to highlight this challenge to the audience.”
Back on Track was produced by Discovery Sports Events in partnership with Paps & Co.
Season two of the UCI Track Champions League is set to return in Autumn 2022