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Cycling changes positive for NZ riders

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/10/2016

Cycling changes positive for NZ riders © Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Cycling changes positive for NZ riders Sweeping changes to world championship and Olympic track cycling formats should prove advantageous to New Zealand riders.

However, Cycling New Zealand performance director Mark Elliott says there may need to be a rethink in its planning and coaching approach.

The UCI, international cycling's governing body, has made significant changes to the omnium and also to formats in other track events for World Cup and world championship competitions.

The omnium is reduced from six events to four, with the removal of the individual pursuit, time trial and flying lap - all timed races.

A tempo bunch race has been added to the omnium, which will be staged over one day rather than two.

Given that New Zealand's traditional strength is in bunch racing, Elliott said the new omnium format looked promising.

In other changes, the team pursuit will no longer have fifth to eighth place ride-offs, the team sprint will have an added round of racing, the keirin will be increased to three laps, and a women's madison will be added.

"UCI are trying to make track racing more of a spectacle, with more high intensity races which will provide more entertainment," Elliott said.

Cycling NZ is waiting for details around the format of competitions, but Elliott expects the new formats will mean a rethink.

"It is likely to require a change in our planning and coaching approach, with our more traditional focus on the teams pursuit," he said.

If the overall number of riders for an Olympics didn't change, then riders for the omnium would need come out of team pursuit.

The World Cup competition begins next month with back-to-back rounds in Scotland and the Netherlands, followed by two further rounds early next year in Los Angeles and Cali.

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