Katie Archibald and Gavin Hoover return to defend their titles, joined by a wave of new talent making their debuts including track legend Dame Laura Kenny and Cofidis WorldTour pro Benjamin Thomas.
Katie Archibald (Great Britain) and Gavin Hoover (USA) are to return to defend their Endurance titles at this year’s UCI Track Champions League, joined by a star-studded list of new talent confirmed to have achieved pre-qualified status.
Having watched the 2021 season from the sidelines as a TV pundit for Eurosport, Dame Laura Kenny (Great Britain) will be making her debut on-track this year. One of the most decorated athletes to ever grace the sport, Kenny has achieved no less than five Olympic golds, seven rainbow jerseys and 14 European titles in her impressive career to date.
Other new talent joining her on the women’s roster is newly crowned, two-time European Champion Rachele Barbieri (Italy), current UCI World Scratch Champion Martina Fidanza (Italy), and multiple Junior UCI World Champion Tsuyaka Uchino (Japan). Reigning European Scratch Champion Anita Stenberg (Norway) is also returning to fight for the title after missing out in 2021.
All will have their eyes on the prize, taking the challenge to current champion Archibald, who is making her long-awaited return to the track following time out from racing in 2022.
In the men’s field, Gavin Hoover (USA) is returning to try and claim a second successive UCI Track Champions League crown, joined by 2022 debutants, four-time UCI World Champion Benjamin Thomas (France) and former Olympic Sprint Champion Matthijs Büchli (Netherlands). 2021 UCI Track World Championships silver-medalists Michele Scartezzini (Italy) and Roy Eefting (Netherlands) will make their return to the UCI Track Champions League, alongside six-time European Champion Sebastián Mora (Spain), who narrowly missed out on the title last year.
24 riders (12 Sprint and 12 Endurance, split equally between male and female athletes) have achieved pre-qualified status on account of their favourable performances in the 2021 Tissot UCI Track World Championships, 2021 UCI Track Champions League and their results over the early part of the 2022 season.
The 12 Sprint riders to achieve pre-qualified status have already been announced. Unfortunately, since that announcement, Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago) has withdrawn from the league due to injury. He will be replaced by Japanese rider Shinji Nakano. Find out more about the Sprint riders by clicking here.
Having those initial 24 riders confirmed means the UCI Track Champions League can guarantee a truly world-class field.
The remaining 48 places on the 72-rider roster will then be filled by athletes who perform well at the 2022 Tissot UCI Track World Championships (12-16 October). That event is starting tomorrow at the Vélodrome National in St-Quentin-en-Yvelines on the outskirts of Paris (France), which will also host round three of the UCI Track Champions League.
24 places (12 male and 12 female) will be awarded to riders who finish on the podium in any of the four individual Endurance events (Omnium, Points Race, Scratch Race and Elimination Race). The remaining 24 places (12 male and 12 female) will be granted to those who achieve a top-six finish in either of the Keirin or Individual Sprint events.
If any pre-qualified riders occupy those places, or a non-pre-qualified rider achieves more than one of those places, then the spot will be awarded to the next-best qualifiers of each event.
UCI TRACK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, A MILESTONE FOR TRACK CYCLING
The first season of the UCI Track Champions League in 2021 proved an unbridled success, achieving its mission of elevating track cycling to a new level and becoming a key fixture on the world cycling calendar.
The series reached 149 million viewers across Warner Bros. Discovery’s network (comprising discovery+, Eurosport and GCN+) alone, with 26 additional broadcast partners ensuring it was screened in 206 countries across the globe.
The competition format has been specifically designed to deliver quickfire, enthralling, and easy-to-understand racing, with a wealth of live rider data on the official UCI Track Champions League app helping to provide an unrivalled viewing experience.
The UCI Track Champions League is returning bigger and better in 2022 with the five-round series commencing in Mallorca on Saturday 12 November, visiting Berlin (Saturday 19 November) and Paris (Saturday 26 November) before culminating with a double-header at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark on Friday and Saturday 2-3 December.
You can buy tickets for the Mallorca, St-Quentin-En-Yvelines and London rounds NOW, with ticket information for Berlin coming soon.
The racing format will remain unchanged, with Sprint riders taking part in Individual Sprint and Keirin events during each round while the Endurance riders battle it out in both Elimination and Scratch races.
Four champions (one male and one female rider in both the Sprint and Endurance categories) will then be crowned at the end of the series.
Gavin Hoover said: “Winning the Men’s Endurance title in the first-ever UCI Track Champions League is one of the highlights of my career and I can’t wait to return and try and defend my title. It’s going to be tough given the calibre of riders I’ll be up against – these are the best track riders in the world after all – but I’ll give it my best shot.
“Last season’s UCI Track Champions League was the most fun I’ve ever had racing my bike and seeing it grow year-on-year is something I’m very much looking forward to.”
Dame Laura Kenny said: “I’m really looking forward to competing in my first UCI Track Champions League. I felt like a fan when I was watching it last season and every round was packed with exciting and spectacular racing.
“The new format and high tech presentation that the series brings has taken track cycling to a whole new level and I can’t wait to be part of it.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, promoter of the UCI Track Champions League said: “We’re very proud to have secured such an impressive list of pre-qualified riders, not just in the Endurance races, but for the Sprint competitions as well.
“The strength of this incredible roster is testament to the successful launch of the UCI Track Champions League last season and we’re committed to building on that momentum and making the 2022 series even bigger and better.”
UCI President David Lappartient said: “After a first season that took our breath away, we can only look forward to the 2022 UCI Track Champions League. The athlete line-up so far is top class and will guarantee close battles and plenty of excitement. Athletes who shone in last year’s League will be challenged by prominent names in track cycling who are newcomers to the UCI Track Champions League this year. These confrontations will add extra spice to a racing format that has already proven its popularity with riders and fans.”
Fans can watch every round from the second season of the UCI Track Champions League on Warner Bros. Discovery Sports’ platforms including discovery+, Eurosport and GCN+.