Jeffrey Hoogland says that the UCI Track Champions League distinguishes itself from ‘traditional’ track cycling due to its intensity.
Multiple world champion Hoogland spoke to Eurosport ahead of the first weekend of action at the inaugural Track Champions League, which begins on November 6 in Mallorca.
Each round – there are five – consists of short format, high adrenaline racing with 72 athletes, 36 men and 36 women, competing for equal prize money, and Hoogland says that the intensity of the meets will bring out the best in the riders.
“The short time between the races and the intensity of the evening program makes it very interesting. That should bring out the best in us,” began Hoogland, an Olympic gold medallist, four-time UCI world champion and eight-time European champion, adding that he expects the new form of racing to layer on new fans to the sport.
“I’m really looking forward to this new form of racing. I hope the fans will like it. I expect it to be something really fun for the fans to watch. My main goal is to have good races and therefore to create a show for the fans,” he adds.
And compatriot, Harrie Lavreysen – a multiple Olympic, world and European champion – adds that the new formats will make for a great spectacle.
“What’s really cool about this event are the short races,” added Lavreysen.
Normally we race for five days. Now the fans can see everything in one evening. The sprint and the keirin. They see everything in two and a half hours.
“I hope it’s cooler for the fans especially to watch and to involve them more,” he adds.
‘Winning even more difficult’
The truncated running time for each event has led to an adjustment to the sprint element. The usual two-rider setup will be modified to include a third rider, and Lavreysen says that will impact tactics.
“Sprinting with three riders is really something different than we are used to. In general I am with Jeffrey (Hoogland) in the final of the sprint. I expect that,” began the 24-year-old.
This is going to be a bit different in the Champions League now. Sprinting every week with three riders in the track is not easy. Winning has become even more difficult.
However, Hoogland still thinks the strongest riders will prevail regardless of tactics.
“The tactics are certainly influenced a bit, but I do expect the strongest rider to win. So that’s great,” he says. “I would like to wear that leader’s jersey every round.”
As a world gold medallist in the individual, the team and the keirin, Lavreysen enters the event as the favourite but which of the disciplines is his preference?
“I like to ride all three parts. In the team sprint you really work together, as a team, towards an event. If I have to choose, I’d go for the individual sprint – you have to study every detail and the technical aspect, so I choose the sprint.”
Photo credit: SWpix.com
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