‘I will go out of my comfort zone’ – Kouame on maiden UCI Track Champions League

Taky Marie-Divine Kouame admits she will be “out of her comfort zone” when she makes her UCI Track Champions League debut.

Kouame has had a breakthrough year, winning the 500m Time Trial at the World Championships on home soil last month in style.

She beat Emma Hinze by 0.216 seconds which is a huge margin in sprinting.

The French rider will need to adapt to the Individual Sprint and Kerin events if she is to challenge for the overall victory, which she feels wants to enjoy.

“Last year when I watched the TCL it was like a dream to participate it,” she told Eurosport. “It should be so crazy to live this experience and best of all there is one round in Saint Quentin en Yvelines, so I’m very happy about that, it’s so cool.

“I saw the format, which has very short time to recover, it’s a very condensed schedule and it doesn’t suit at all my qualities.

“I will go out of my comfort zone and I think it’s a good way to still prepare myself for the future and the European Championships in February.

“I adapted my calendar with Gregory Bauge [her coach] for this. It’s very nice the TCL is happening at this time of the season.

The 500m time trial is not an Olympic discipline but the Individual Sprint and Kerin are so Kouame is looking to gain experience ahead of Paris 2024.

Should the 20-year-old continue her impressive performances, she will almost certainly be part of France’s Team Sprint squad that could challenge for gold in two years.

Five rounds in Mallorca, Berlin, Paris and London will give Kouame plenty of time to understood the events that are relatively new to her, which is the main goal for the world champion.

“I really want to progress in individual sprint and Keirin so it’s fine for me there is no 500m at the TCL,” added Kouame.

“There is a tactical aspect, find the good cadence, try to be in my best position in sprint, have more power, more experience.

“I’m not yet at my best in [terms of] recovery between sprints rounds or the Kerin. I don’t like to have too long time off so the schedule suited me perfectly. A week of holidays, one week with swimming, walk and now back on the bike.”

Defending Track Champions League Sprint champion Hinze will miss this year’s event so she can “recharge her batteries” but four-time world champion Pauline Grabosch will be on the start line in Mallorca on November 12.

Last year’s runner-up Lea Freidrich and France’s Mathilde Gros are among the star-studded sprint field, along with Kelsey Mitchell and Laurine van Riessen.

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After a great debut season, the UCI Track Champions League is back for season two, with Laura Kenny joining the party. You can watch it all live and on demand on discovery+ We will have extensive coverage across eurosport.com and the first race is in Mallorca on Saturday Nov 12, with the action starting at 5:30pm UK time.

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