Hoy slams Olympic changes

Programme changes to cut medal haul

Last Updated: 25/05/10 6:04pm

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Sir Chris Hoy has hit out at cycling's world governing body UCI for making "terrible" changes to the Olympic track programme and qualification criteria which look set to hamper Great Britain's bid to emulate their Beijing bounty on home soil at London 2012.

Britain won seven out of 10 events at the Beijing Games in 2008, taking multiple medals from four of the events.

But, six months after making wholesale changes to the track programme to promote gender parity, the UCI earlier this month announced there will be a maximum of one competitor - one individual or one team - per nation per event in London.

Four-time Olympic champion Hoy said: "Hopefully it won't affect me directly, but I still feel strongly about it, like things like the pursuit being dropped, the kilo being dropped, the points race being dropped.

"There's been a lot of decisions recently that have been made by the UCI which aren't really the opinions of the riders and there seems to be no consultation in their process."

Hoy led British one-twos in both of his individual events in Beijing, with Ross Edgar and Jason Kenny taking silver in the keirin and sprint respectively.

Such results - for any nation - will never be replicated.

"I think it detracts from the quality of the field," added Hoy, who was speaking at the launch of Sky Ride.

"To go to an event like the Olympics, which should be the pinnacle of sport and to have major players missing I think it's terrible."

Focused

British Cycling anticipated the changes and are likely to encourage riders to target specific events, rather than seek multiple successes.

Hoy, though, still plans to go for three titles - the sprint, keirin and team sprint - in the capital in two years' time.

"As long as I'm still ranked the number one rider for Britain then I'll be able to ride those events," Hoy said.

The timing of the changes - which include incorporating the European Championships, which have previously been reserved for riders aged 23 and under, as a qualification event - has also been criticised.

Hoy added: "To be making these changes this close to an Olympic Games is so frustrating - they don't seem to understand that things are planned not just a few months before but years before.

"To drop events, to change programmes is disappointing from the riders' perspective and there's a feeling that the riders' wishes aren't being met."

Sir Chris Hoy is celebrating the return of Sky Ride, a series of free family-oriented mass participation cycling events in 10 cities and smaller local rides taking place across the UK. Twelve Sky Ride events will take place on traffic-free streets this summer, aiming to encourage people of all ages and abilities, to get on their bikes. Visit: www.goskyride.com.

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