This Saturday (19th November), the world-class cyclists competing in the UCI Track Champions League will head to the Berlin Velodrom for the very first time, for Round 2 of this innovative track series.
After the blockbuster opening round in Mallorca, the leaderboard has been set. Previous season champion Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) took the lead in the Men’s Sprint League, taking maximum points in the Keirin, whilst fellow Dutch rider Shanne Braspennincx now tops the Women’s Sprint League. Making their debuts this season, Mark Stewart (Great Britain) and Jennifer Valente (USA) also hold first place in the Men’s and Women’s Endurance Leagues respectively. That quartet will be the first riders to wear the coveted blue leader’s jerseys during season two.
If that wasn’t enough, five German riders – Stefan Bötticher, Lea Friedrich, Pauline Grabosch, Moritz Malcharek and Lea Teutenberg – will also be in action and looking to put on a show in front of their home crowd. One rider that will be missing though, is Great Britain’s Sophie Capewell, who has been forced to abandon the series through injury.
Click HERE to read about how Round 1 of the UCI Track Champions League played out.
Here is all the key information heading into Round 2:
RIDERS TO WATCH
Katie Archibald (Great Britain) – After winning the Scratch in Mallorca, Katie Archibald surprised everyone by only managing 15th place in the Elimination. The four-time UCI World Champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist may still be finding her feet this season, and we’ve no doubt she’ll be aiming to come back with a bang in Berlin.
Mark Stewart (Great Britain) – Mark Stewart made the perfect start to his UCI Track Champions League career by winning the Scratch in Mallorca, and his third-placed finish in the Elimination meant he took control of the blue leader’s jersey at the very first time of asking. He’ll be doing all he can to defend that prize in Berlin, but is going to face some stiff competition from his rivals in the Men’s Endurance competition.
Jennifer Valente (USA) – The American didn’t win a race in Round 1, but her third place in the Scratch and second place in the Elimination meant she rose to the top of the Women’s Endurance standings. As the season heads to Berlin, Jennifer Valente will be fighting for her first win and aiming to defend her lead.
Matthew Richardson (Australia) – After a stellar performance in Round 1, the Australian rider has proved he’s got what it takes to challenge current Men’s Sprint leader Harrie Lavreysen. Beating the Dutch powerhouse to the line in the Sprint final, Richardson is ready to test his strength against the world’s best riders, and clearly has hopes of taking the overall title.
Pauline Grabosch (Germany) – Grabosch is another rider making her UCI Track Champions League debut this season. The 24 year old could only manage seventh in the Sprint and 11th in the Keirin in Mallorca, but it’s still early days in the competition and the four-time UCI World Champion will definitely benefit from the home support she’ll receive in Berlin.
Click HERE for the full list of riders who will be competing in the 2022 UCI Track Champions League.
Men’s Sprint leader Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) said: “Mallorca was great and I’m super happy to be travelling to Berlin with the leader’s jersey on my back. Winning the Keirin felt incredible and it’s given me confidence going into the rest of the series, but in the Sprint final I was totally empty. It was a shame to lose to Matthew Richardson in that race and I hope I can take revenge on him this weekend. There will definitely be more competition in Round 2. Jeffery Hoogland is another rider who’ll be tough to beat and I am sure Stefan Bötticher will want to ride well in front of his home crowd. It’s a really strong field.”
Women’s Sprint leader Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands) said: “It’s going to be a good feeling to ride in the leader’s jersey in Berlin. I hope the fans will go wild on Saturday night because they are always a special kind of crowd. My legs have recovered well from Mallorca and I hope to go full gas again this weekend and keep the leader’s jersey on my shoulders.”
Men’s Endurance leader Mark Stewart (Great Britain) said: “I feel a little apprehensive going into Round 2 wearing the leader’s jersey, as it could be a bit of a target on my back, and I just want to take each race as it comes. My plan for Saturday is to go out and race hard, and try and race to win. I’m looking forward to riding in the Berlin Velodrom again as I’ve always enjoyed racing there because, from what I remember, the fans really get behind the riders.”
Women’s Endurance leader Jennifer Valente (USA) said: “I’m feeling good heading into Round 2 in Berlin. The UCI Track Champions League is a long competition but I’ll try and keep my consistency rolling. To be in the leader’s jersey without winning any of the races in Mallorca was a little unexpected, but it’s certainly a good start and I hope to ride well again this weekend.”
Stefan Bötticher said: “I’m really looking forward to racing in Berlin. I’ve been getting requests for tickets every day recently and lots of my family and friends want to come and watch the racing. I hope I’ll get to speak to them on the night.
“I’m also looking forward to competing inside the velodrome again. I have many happy memories from a six-day race I rode back in 2018 when I was returning after a long injury. There was an electric atmosphere that night and I hope it will be the same on Saturday. That home support helps us a lot, and when we’re exhausted, it can help us unlock that extra few percent.”
A full recording of the Round 2 Preview Press Conference is available HERE.
Kristina Vogel, UCI Track Champions League Ambassador said: “I’m really looking forward to Round 2. Berlin has a great track cycling history and it’s nice to have an event like this in Germany. There was an incredible atmosphere in the Velodrom at the 2017 UEC European Track Championships and the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, so I’m hoping that the people of Berlin will also bring the same enthusiasm to the UCI Track Champions League. They won’t find a better line-up at any other competition and the chances of German victory on home soil is pretty high. Lea Friedrich is always a candidate for victory in Sprint or Keirin and Stefan Bötticher also showed us last season that he can win. Moritz Malcharek rode a really strong scratch race in Mallorca, finishing fourth, so with a bit of luck, he could win too.”
Francois Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, said: “After the incredible start to the 2022 series in Mallorca, we head to Berlin, a city with a rich history in track cycling. We have five of the best German riders in the line-up, and a whole crowd cheering them on. With the stakes so high, it’s going to be a tough challenge for them, but the atmosphere inside the Berlin Velodrom is going to be electric.”
The televised race schedule is as follows:
18:55 CET: Live broadcast starts
Sprint / Men / First Round
Keirin / Women / First Round
Scratch / Women
Sprint / Men / Semi Finals
Keirin / Women / Final
Scratch / Men
Sprint / Men / Final
Sprint / Women / First Round
Elimination / Women
Keirin / Men / First Round
Sprint / Women / Semi-Finals
Elimination / Men
Keirin / Men / Final
Sprint / Women / Final
22:20 CET: Live broadcast ends
WHERE TO WATCH
Every round of the UCI Track Champions league is broadcast live on discovery+*, GCN+ (globally), the Eurosport App, as well as on Eurosport 1. Saturday’s coverage starts from 18:30 CET with a 30-minute preview show. Live coverage is then broadcast between 19:00-22:00 CET and is followed by a 30-minute post-race show featuring highlights and expert analysis.
The action will also be broadcast across the globe on the following 14 channels:
Claro (LATAM), ERT (Greece), CBC Sports (Canada), Speed Channel (Japan), RAI (Italy), RTBF (Belgium), RTL7 (Netherlands), RTVE / Teledeporte (Spain), SBS (Australia), SRG (Switzerland), SuperSport (Africa Sub-Sahara), Zhibo.tv (China), Match TV (Russia), Señal Colombia (Colombia).
Highlights will also be broadcast on Quest (UK), Kanal 9 (Sweden), 6’eren (Denmark), Max (Norway) and Kutonen (Finland).
ABOUT THE BERLIN VELODROM
The Berlin Velodrom is a new edition to the UCI Track Champions League. Situated in the Prenzlauer Berg locality, it is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue that was opened in 1997 in a bid for the city to host the Olympic Games three years later, in 2000. The velodrome itself has a capacity of 6,000 and features a spectacular, wood-panelled exterior, making it one of the most unique roof structures in Europe.
The opening in 1997 coincided with the first day of the 86th Berlin Six-Day Race, a track event with a rich heritage. It has since then gone on to host further editions of this historic race, alongside hosting the UCI Track World Championships in 1999 and 2020, as well as the UEC European Track Championship in 2017.
THE SPORTING FORMAT
The UCI Track Champions League is a league format where every round features the same race programme. Riders score points across the five rounds in either the Sprint or Endurance category.
Each category has two different types of races in which competitors can accumulate points: Sprinters will race in both Sprint and Keirin while Endurance riders will race both Elimination and Scratch.
18 riders can take part in each category, totalling 72 riders — equal numbers male and female.
The Sprint Category races:
Sprint: The Sprint race will see the first rider to cross the finish line after three laps of the track win. The first round will comprise six heats of three riders going head-to-head, with the six winners progressing on to the semifinals. Two heats of three riders will then determine the final two competitors to go for the win.
Keirin: The Keirin race is a massed start sprint over five laps. The first two laps of the track will be behind a Derny motorcycle to set the pace, leaving riders to sprint to the finish over the remaining three. Six riders will take part in three heats, with the top two riders qualifying for the final. In the final, six riders will compete for victory.
The Endurance category races:
Elimination: In the Elimination race the last rider across the finish line in every other lap will be eliminated from the race. The first lap will be a neutral lap and all 18 riders take part from the off.
Scratch: The classic Scratch race will be contested over a relatively short distance of 5 km to see the high-speed action start from the gun. All 18 will be vying for a podium position over 20 laps of the 250m track.
POINTS AND RIDERS RANKINGS
Rankings within the UCI Track Champions League will be determined by points allocated to riders from their performance in each race. Points will accrue in a ranking table and the overall winner in each of the categories will be the rider with the most points at the end of the series.
At the end of each round the current leader will be awarded the UCI Track Champions League leader’s jersey to wear at the next round.
REMAINING RACE CALENDAR:
Round 2: Saturday 19 November, 19:00 CET, Berlin / Berlin Velodrom, Germany
Round 3: Saturday 26 November, 19:00 CET, St-Quentin-En-Yvelines / Velodrome National de St-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France
Round 4: Friday 2 December, 20:00 CET, London / Lee Valley VeloPark, UK
Round 5: Saturday 3 December, 20:00 CET, London / Lee Valley VeloPark, UK
You can also buy tickets for the Berlin, Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines and London rounds NOW.