10 May 2021 – Paris, France: The UCI Track Champions League is delighted to announce that six of the world’s leading track athletes will be taking part in the competition’s inaugural year as ‘Founding Riders’. The Founding Riders will bring the human story behind the event to life in the build up to and during the UCI Track Champions League.
The hopes and dreams of each athlete will play out on the world stage in a way that has never been attempted in the sport of track cycling before. Fans will be able to follow the journey of each athlete in detail across the UCI Track Champions League’s channels as well as via Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network – two broadcasters among many providing coverage of the exciting new event. 2021 is set to be an electrifying year for track cycling, with the Founding Riders battling it out at the Tokyo Olympics and UCI World Championships before taking on the brand new UCI Track Champions League.
Three men and three women, each at different stages of their careers, have been chosen as Founding Riders. It is an international mix, with six riders hailing from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, UK and Lithuania. Racing alongside their fellow competitors at six international rounds, the Founding Riders have been chosen as talented representatives of the sport’s major track cycling nations.
These riders have been pre-selected as part of a qualification process that will see the first 12 places in each category – Sprint and Endurance – qualify from the UCI World Championships and the remaining six places allocated to the world’s best track riders – this will be determined by a range of criteria including UCI rankings, Olympic performance and previous results at major events. All will be setting their sights on being crowned either the Endurance or Sprint Champion as they emerge from six back-to-back rounds of competition.
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, promoter of the UCI Track Champions League said: “When you’re invested in an athlete or a team, watching sport becomes instantly more captivating. And as our mission is to grow the fanbase of track cycling across the world, our Founding Riders will play a crucial role in getting new audiences invested in the drama on the track each week and throughout 2021. We’re thrilled to have on board six extremely talented and professional athletes who, between them, have amassed more than twenty UCI Track Cycling World Championships titles and Olympic gold medals. We’re looking forward to them sharing with us their passion for track cycling, the hours of preparation they put into training and the incredible skill they have perfected.”
The Founding Riders of the UCI Track Champions League are:
Ed Clancy (UK)
In addition to six UCI Track Cycling World Champion titles, Clancy’s illustrious career has featured triumphs at the Beijing, London and Rio Olympics as part of a gold medal-winning team pursuit quartet. 2021 will be the 36-year-old’s sixteenth year as a Team GB team pursuit cyclist as he aims for Tokyo 2021. Clancy could also potentially be the first track cyclist in the world to get four gold track medals across four consecutive Olympics if successful in this year. In November, Clancy will be vying for the Endurance Champion title at the UCI Track Champions League.
Emma Hinze (Germany)
Last year Hinze cemented her trailblazer status when she was crowned triple UCI World Champion at Berlin 2020. The 23-year-old landed her titles in the Keirin, Sprint and Team Sprint disciplines and will be looking to outpace her competitors in the Sprint category at the inaugural UCI Track Champions League.
Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands)
24-year-old Lavreysen will be putting up a fierce fight for the Sprint victory at the UCI Track Championships. The Dutch athlete has six UCI World Champion and three European Champion titles under his belt and is the reigning Sprint, Keirin and Team Sprint UCI World Champion and current Team Sprint world record holder.
Mathilde Gros (France)
France’s rising star is the youngest Founding Rider at 21-years-old and will be competing to be the women’s Sprint Champion. Gros began her career in track cycling in 2015 when she was invited to take part in the Chariloto Cup in Japan. She has since gone on to win two golds at the European Championships as well as a bronze at the 2019 UCI World Championships.
Sebastián Mora (Spain)
Mora not only knows his way around the track but has also been competing professionally on the road as part of Movistar team since 2020. The 32-year-old Spaniard is multiple European champion across Scratch, Points and Madison and former Scratch UCI World Champion (2016). Mora will race against fellow Founding Rider Ed Clancy for the UCI Track Champions League Endurance victory.
Simona Krupeckaitė (Lithuania)
Krupeckaitė is a former holder of two world records on the track as well as numerous victories in the UCI World Championships, UCI World Cups and European Track Championships. Her success on the track has also earned her three Lithuanian Sportsperson of the Year awards. The 38-year-old will be taking part in her fifth Olympic Games this summer ahead of the UCI Track Champions League.