The UCI Track Champions League is almost upon us.
Cycling’s new innovative competition brings together the world’s top riders in the velodrome as 72 athletes, 36 men and 36 women, compete for equal prize money across five meetings in 2021.
To help introduce you to this brilliant new addition to the sporting calendar, we sat down for an informative Q&A with Spanish cyclist Sebastián Mora, ahead of the first race on Saturday in Mallorca…
What is the most exciting thing about the UCI Track Champions League format?
It is a very concentrated format, very fast and one in which the viewer can see what track cycling is all about. The long-distance tests are the most spectacular, the elimination is the easiest to understand and the most visual for the spectator. Also the scratch race [is easy to understand] since the first to pass the finish line is the winner.
“It is a way to give visibility to cycling on the track, which is very important.”
Will riding the same races, against the same riders, six times generate great rivalries?
In the end, the people who have raced in the World Cup or Six Days, now with the new format, I think they will know how to differentiate it. Of course everyone will want to win and rivalry will arise, but we will all know how to be there at all times.
Which race do you prefer, scratch or elimination, and why?
Scratch is a test in which I have been world and European champion and it is a test in which I can demonstrate it and I also like elimination, I hope to do well and be there putting elbows.
How do you think the look and feel of the velodrome will add to the races?
I think that being such a fast format and so enjoyable for the viewer, the fans will be very excited. I hope that the sprinters can show off all their qualities and can hook the fans and give a new format to track cycling.
Is it exciting to see innovations like that in track cycling?
Innovation is important, giving visibility (to track cycling) and with Eurosport there will be a lot of visibility, I think in the end you have to innovate a bit. You always have to be clear about what track cycling is and this event is an ambitious new way of seeing track cycling.
Do you like the design of the leader’s t-shirt?
They have made the design very beautiful, the company that manufactures it knows how to look very good and as a cyclist we always like to wear that leader’s jersey in whatever section.
What a great opportunity to make history and become the first person to lift the trophy?
In the end it is a new format, a novel situation and it greatly favours cyclists who are faster. I am a cyclist who likes races to be harder and more resistant but we will try to be at the highest possible level.
What encouraged you to join the UCI Track Champions League?
It is a new format and also produced by Eurosport and also by the UCI; if the great runners of track cycling are not there, it will not be able to give it that relevance. I think it is a way of trying to give maximum visibility to this world that we love.
What do you think UCI TCL does differently from other events?
What differentiates it from most other events is the program, which will be very compressed and encourage the viewer to be visually hooked. This is the main difference compared to other events that last longer and in which you have more recovery time.
What is it about track cycling that makes it so attractive on television? Maybe that ‘indoor’ environment, that warmth of the public that you can hardly get on the road?
The difference with the public between road cycling to track is very noticeable. If a velodrome is full and has a home favourite rider, it makes the race harder because people who understand cycling encourage them more. That atmosphere is much more noticeable.
In addition, this new Champions League is committed to equality by distributing the same prizes between men and women. It is another step forward…
It is very good. We also see it in the Movistar team with male and female teams. The issue of integration is very important and we see that it is catching up and we are on the right track.
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