World-class track Sprint field guaranteed as the UCI Track Champions League enters its second season of competition.
Defending champions Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) and Emma Hinze (Germany) will be back to defend their UCI Track Champions League titles after being selected among a star-studded list of sprinters pre-qualified for the 2022 season.
Harrie Lavreysen, two-time Olympic gold medallist and nine-time UCI Track World Champion, heads a stellar list of male talent which also includes reigning UCI Track Nations Cup Keirin champion Kevin Quintero (Colombia), Commonwealth Games gold medallists Matthew Richardson (Australia) and Nicholas Paul (Trinidad and Tobago), two-time UCI Track World Champion Stefan Bötticher (Germany) and Tissot UCI Track World Championships bronze medallist Mikhail Yakovlev (Israel).
Five-time UCI Track World Champion Emma Hinze meanwhile, forms part of an equally impressive female roster which features fellow five-time rainbow jersey winner Lea Friedrich (Germany), reigning Olympic gold medallists Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) and Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands), two-time European Champion Mathilde Gros (France) and Tissot UCI Track World Championships silver medallist Martha Bayona (Colombia).
24 riders (12 Sprint and 12 Endurance, split equally between male and female athletes) have achieved pre-qualified status on account of their favourable performances in the 2021 Tissot UCI Track World Championships, 2021 UCI Track Champions League and their results over the early part of the 2022 season.
Having those initial 24 riders confirmed means the UCI Track Champions League can guarantee a truly world-class field. The list of Endurance riders who will be joining the pre-qualified sprinters is set to be announced soon.
The remaining 48 places on the 72-rider roster will then be filled by athletes who perform well at the 2022 Tissot UCI Track World Championships (12-16 October). That event is taking place at the St-Quentin-en-Yvelines vélodrome, in Paris, which will also host round three of the UCI Track Champions League.
24 places (12 male and 12 female) will be awarded to riders who finish on the podium in any of the four individual Endurance events (Omnium, Points Race, Scratch Race and Elimination Race). The remaining 24 places (12 male and 12 female) will be granted to those who achieve a top-six finish in either of the Keirin or Individual Sprint events.
If any pre-qualified riders occupy those places, or a non-pre-qualified rider achieves more than one of those places, then the spot will be awarded to the next-best qualifiers of each event.
UCI TRACK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, A MILESTONE FOR TRACK CYCLING
The first season of the UCI Track Champions League in 2021 proved an unbridled success, achieving its mission of elevating track cycling to a new level and becoming a key fixture on the world cycling calendar.
The series reached 149 million viewers across Warner Bros. Discovery’s network (comprising discovery+, Eurosport and GCN+) alone, with 26 additional broadcast partners ensuring it was screened in 206 countries across the globe.
The competition format has been specifically designed to deliver quickfire, enthralling, and easy-to-understand racing, with a wealth of live rider data on the official UCI Track Champions League app helping to provide an unrivalled viewing experience.
The UCI Track Champions League is returning bigger and better in 2022 with the five-round series commencing in Mallorca on Saturday 12 November, visiting Berlin (Saturday 19 November) and Paris (Saturday 26 November) before culminating with a double-header at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark on Friday and Saturday 2-3 December.
The racing format will remain unchanged, with Sprint riders taking part in Individual Sprint and Keirin events during each round while the Endurance riders battle it out in both Elimination and Scratch races.
Four champions (one male and one female rider in both the Sprint and Endurance categories) will then be crowned at the end of the series.
Harrie Lavreysen, who topped the 2021 UCI Track Champions League standings by winning five of the eight Sprint races last season, said: “I’m super happy to be taking part in the second season of the UCI Track Champions League and it means a lot to be able to come back and defend my title. The series has brought track cycling to a whole new audience and I’m a big fan of the way the racing format is organised – it’s quickfire, fun and easy to follow. I can’t wait to participate again.
“There are some really strong riders on this list and it’ll be really interesting to see who also qualifies to compete after the 2022 Tissot UCI Track World Championships as well.”
Emma Hinze, who claimed the leader’s jersey by winning four races across the inaugural series, said: “Last season’s UCI Track Champions League was brilliant, the whole series was amazing, so it’s great that I’ll be able to compete again.
“I’m particularly looking forward to the Berlin round because I always love riding in front of my home crowd and the atmosphere inside the velodrome is going to be incredible, but all five rounds are going to be exciting and wherever we go, we always get an unbelievable reception.
“I’m also looking forward to competing against the very best riders in the sport once again and like last season, it would mean so much to me if I am able to be at the top of the standings.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, promoter of the UCI Track Champions League said: “When you see the list of pre-qualified riders we have confirmed for the 2022 UCI Track Champions League, it reads like a who’s who of the world’s best sprinters, and we’re immensely proud to have secured such an impressive list of talents for our second season.
“We’re looking forward to unveiling our Endurance pre-qualified athletes in the coming weeks before the final places are confirmed in October, and we’re excited to see the UCI Track Champions League go from strength to strength in what promises to be a spectacular second season.”
UCI President David Lappartient said: “Last year’s UCI Track Champions League more-than lived up to expectations, shining a new light on track cycling and its athletes. Anticipation is now growing for the second edition, with the naming of the pre-qualified Sprint riders.
“With the Tissot UCI Track World Championships taking place in less than a month, followed by five back-to-back rounds of the UCI Track Champions League, we have some incredible racing in store for us over the coming months.”
Fans can watch every round from the second season of the UCI Track Champions League on Warner Bros. Discovery Sports’ platforms including discovery+, Eurosport and GCN+.