Founding riders Harrie Lavreysen, Emma Hinze, Simona Krupeckaite, Sebastián Mora, Ed Clancy and Mathilde Gros reflect on the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 ahead of November’s UCI Track Champions League
12 July 2021 – Paris, France: As the countdown to Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 reaches its climax, all six of the UCI Track Champions League’s Founding Riders have their sights set on Olympic glory, in an historic year for track cycling.
A testament to the world-class calibre of riders confirmed for November’s inaugural UCI Track Champions League, Harrie Lavreysen, Emma Hinze, Simona Krupeckaite, Sebastián Mora, Ed Clancy and Mathilde Gros will all be competing for Olympic Gold medals at Japan’s Izu Velodrome from 2-8 August.
Created by Discovery’s dedicated event promotion business Eurosport Events in partnership with the UCI, the UCI Track Champions League will consist of six rounds and is set to elevate the sport to new audiences with an all-new, high adrenaline format of racing. A select group of 72 world-class track cyclists will qualify for the new League based on this year’s Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships performances, with the six Founding Riders hailing from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, UK and Lithuania already confirmed to compete.
As we count down to Tokyo 2020 and enter a new era for the sport, the UCI Track Champions League’s six Founding Riders give their thoughts heading into the Olympic Games:
Ed Clancy (UK)
“There are two things I’m looking forward to this year, the first one is the Olympics, the second is the UCI Track Champions League. This is a fantastic year for the sport. I think fans of track cycling have had absolutely no chance to watch the sport for the last 12-18 months so I’m super excited that someone’s now getting a hold of track cycling and making it really easy to digest and really entertaining! After the Olympics and Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships, there won’t be a single rider in the competition that is not motivated and doesn’t have great form. So it’s going to be an incredibly difficult event to win.”
Emma Hinze (Germany)
“It’s going to be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to every event, especially the Olympics of course. The Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships are big for me too as I’m the current UCI World Champion in the Women’s Sprint. The UCI Track Champions League is really exciting for me. I really like the gender equal prize money, the short but hard racing, the lights and music too – it’s going to be a real show for the fans. The trophy is huge as well! I think it’s probably the biggest trophy you can win in cycling right now, but I think I could find a place for it at home if I win.”
Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands)
“I’ve been in training for five years now for the Olympics, so I’m totally ready for it and the team is focused on Tokyo. After the Olympics, I’ll be racing the UCI Track Champions League of course. With such short races, there will be a lot of tension to it – you can’t make any mistakes. And with the rounds being so close, it’ll be totally different to what we normally race. I hope this is the beginning of a new era for track cycling and, of course, it’s nice to be a part of that.”
Mathilde Gros (France)
“I’m so excited for the Olympics, the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships and UCI Track Champions League! It’s been more than a year since I was last able to ride competitively so this schedule gives me so many opportunities and I’ll be targeting all of them. The UCI Track Champions League is going to be special – the atmosphere, the quality of the riders, the condensed format – it’s bringing something to the table that’s missing from track cycling at the moment. Riding each round back-to-back is going to lead to so many exciting tactical battles in the sprints as we all adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses week after week – I can’t wait.”
Sebastián Mora (Spain)
“At Tokyo, I’ll be racing the Madison with my teammate Albert Torres. We’ll do our best and try to win Gold. After that comes the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the UCI Track Champions League. I really wanted to be a part of the league as a Founding Rider as I think it’s a way of achieving more visibility for the sport we all love. It’s a really concentrated format, really fast-paced and a great opportunity for viewers to experience track cycling on TV. Giving the sport that kind of broadcast visibility is really important. I’m looking forward to competing in the Scratch, it’s a race in which I have been UCI World and European Champion so I’ll enjoy the test.”
Simona Krupeckaitė (Lithuania)
“I’m very much looking forward to the start of the Olympics, Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships, and of course the UCI Track Champions League. I have a strong desire to compete with other racers and take part in high level racing after such a difficult period. After the Olympics, the new league will be so special. In my opinion, the concentration of so many champions in one place makes the UCI Track Champions League so amazing. The best of the best with the biggest achievements will take part in the event. For me, the league’s unveiling was a historic moment. Over the years, I hope many riders will have the opportunity to lift that trophy.”