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Cycling aims for more track events
Roger Vaughan
03:56 AEST Thu Aug 9 2012

Cycling's world governing body hope they can turn the success of the sport at the London Olympics into more track events at the 2016 Rio Games.

The cycling boom in Great Britain over the last few years translated into massive spectator interest for the road and track events.

There were so many fans roadside for the men's road race on day one of competition that organisers put out a public request for them to restrict their mobile telecommunications, because it was affecting electronic time checks.

The velodrome was also the place to be seen during the track competition, with a steady stream of celebrities and members of the British royal family attending the sold-out venue.

World governing body the UCI have made controversial changes to the Olympic track schedule in the last few years, cutting popular events such as the time trials and individual pursuits.

The multi-discipline omnium, a new Olympic event introduced for London, includes the time trial and individual pursuit in its format instead.

While the changes meant gender parity of five events for men and five for women, cycling purists were furious.

Cycling has lacked clout with the IOC in the last decade, in part because of the high-profile doping scandals that have plagued the sport, but they are hopeful the London Games are a turning point.

"The basic decision to go for 5-5 is justified, the question then is what five and what five? - or even make it six," said UCI president Pat McQuaid.

"The UCI would like another endurance discipline, giving us three and three.

"If we can add another endurance event - don't ask me which one - to keep that attraction for road riders, it would be good."

Had the individual pursuit remained a medal event for London, it would have potentially attracted a mouth-watering field of road professionals including Australian world record holder Jack Bobridge, Tour de France champion Brad Wiggins and Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara.

McQuaid said he was happy with the omnium's Olympic debut and was rapt with how well cycling had been showcased at these Games.

"I have to say our sport's profile has never been so high as it is this week," he said.

"If we could have given LOCOG 10 days in this velodrome, they would have taken it (and) it's obvious why."

Great Britain have dominated the sport, winning seven of 10 track gold medals.

McQuaid said it had been a steady progression for British cycling since the Sydney Olympics and they were a great example to other national federations.

He also praised Anna Meares, who gave Australia their one cycling gold medal so far when she beat British rival Victoria Pendleton in the sprint.

"She is not just a super athlete, she's a super person," McQuaid said.

"It also showed the British didn't win everything."

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