Following the creation of a new circuit for track cycling by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) on 26 September 2019, the UCI and Discovery are launching a new UCI Track Cycling World League. This is set to debut in the 2021-2022 season.
Under the agreement, signed at the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot in Berlin, Germany, the management, TV production and distribution of the new UCI series will be entrusted to Global Cycling Network (GCN).
This will be in collaboration with Eurosport’s dedicated event promotion division, Eurosport Events, for an initial term of eight years. The partnership will ensure international exposure for the new UCI Track Cycling World League via Discovery channels and platforms including Eurosport, the number one sports destination in Europe, and GCN, billed as ‘the world’s number one cycling media brand’.
In a release, UCI noted that… ‘The new UCI circuit has a short, dynamic and attractive format that is perfectly suited to the needs of TV and the expectations of viewers. It aims to make track cycling more accessible and to open it up to new audiences who enjoy the spectacle of high-quality sport.’
The competition programme for the new UCI league features four events for men and women: individual sprint, keirin, elimination race and Scratch race. The inaugural season will run from November 2021 to February 2022, following the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, and will comprise a target of six rounds, each running for around two hours.
The nine best-placed riders in sprint and keirin as well as all medallists of bunch races at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships will gain selection for the UCI Track Cycling World League.
Participants will wear jerseys inspired by their national flags, while the newly crowned UCI World Champions will sport their new rainbow jerseys for the occasion.
As of 2021, the UCI International Track Cycling Calendar will be structured around the following major competitions:
- The UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup, comprised of three rounds held between March and September;
- The UCI Track Cycling World Championships, held in October, after the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup;
- The new UCI Track Cycling World League, which will run from November to February.
UCI President David Lappartient said “I am thrilled and delighted that Discovery will be by our side to help launch and promote our new UCI Track Cycling World League. Their expertise and recognised know-how in the fields of organisation and TV production and broadcasting will contribute significantly to the development and popular appeal of track cycling.
“With this new UCI circuit, the discipline will have a packed and attractive annual calendar that offers variety and will meet the expectations of new audiences while also appealing to existing cycling fans. Along with our new partner, we will grow the appeal of track cycling beyond the Olympic Games, where it has been on the programme since the very first Games of the modern era, in 1896.”
President, Eurosport and Global Sports Rights & Sports Marketing Solutions, Andrew Georgiou, said “We are excited to deepen our longstanding relationship with the UCI and go even further to grow the sport across Europe. Eurosport Events is an increasingly important strategic offer within our business, affording rights-holders the opportunity to build and strengthen their event portfolios globally.
“The partnership with the UCI demonstrates what the scale and expertise of the wider Discovery family can offer partners in sport, providing both highly localised content to the widest variety of audiences as well as offering unrivalled expertise, analysis and storytelling from the best experts.
Combining this strength in cycling with Eurosport Events’ promotional know-how and the global scale of Discovery’s channels and platforms, including Eurosport and GCN, we are confident we will build the UCI Track Cycling World League into a huge success. As Home of the Olympics in Europe, Discovery and Eurosport look forward to continuing to champion the riders who will be the stars of the velodrome all the way to Paris 2024.”