The UCI Track Champions League season has been unveiled ©UCI

The International Cycling Union (UCI) and Eurosport Events have unveiled plans for the UCI Track Champions League, with a condensed six-round series aimed at providing greater visibility to track cycling.

Plans for series were initially announced last March, with the UCI Track Champions League name, logo, and ambassadors revealed in November.

The UCI and Eurosport Events confirmed the hosts of the inaugural season during a launch event today, which was streamed from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris and Bath in the United Kingdom.

The series is scheduled to begin at Mallorca in Spain on November 6, with riders competing at the 5,200-capacity Velòdrom Illes Balears.

St Quentin en Yvelines will host the second event on November 20, with the French national velodrome building towards hosting track cycling competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Riders will then head to Panevėžys in Lithuania for competition at the Cido Arena on November 27.

London will host the fourth and fifth rounds of the series, with competition taking place at the Lee Valley VeloPark on December 3 and 4.

The series will conclude at the new Sylvan Adams National Velodrome in Israel, with the event taking place in Tel Aviv on December 11.

Six rounds will be held in the inaugural season ©UCI
Six rounds will be held in the inaugural season ©UCI

The Track Champions League will operate with a league format, with each event featuring the same race programme.

Riders score points across the six rounds in either the sprint or endurance categories.

Sprinters will race both the sprint and keirin events, while endurance riders will race elimination and scratch races.

The UCI says 18 riders will compete in each category meaning a total of 72 riders will participate, with equal numbers of male and female.

Rankings will be determined by points allocated to riders from their performance in each race, which will count towards a league table.

The overall winner in each of the categories will be the rider with the most points at the end of the series.

At the end of each round the four current leaders of each category will be awarded the leader’s jersey to wear at the next event.

An overall prize pool of more than €500,000 (£430,000/$610,000) will be awarded during the series, with prize money allocated equally to men and women.

Prize money will be awarded for the top 10 riders in each race, with winners receiving €1,000 (£860/$1,200).

The overall winner of each category will also receive €25,000 (£21,500/$30,500), with prize money allocated for each place in the overall standings.

Organisers unveiled a UCI Track Champions League Trophy, which has been based on the shape of a track and stands at over one metre high, featuring a electric blue LED stripe.

The name of each winner of the men’s and women’s sprint and endurance leagues will also be etched on to the trophy after the final round, with four replicas provided for the winning riders.

The UCI Track Champions League’s kit partner Santini have designed the leader’s jersey, with the Viper Z2 TT Speedsuit set to include their national flag and league’s branding.

Each rider will keep the same race number throughout the competition and will have their own personal sponsors featured on the skinsuit.

The winners of the four categories at the end of the season will receive a replica trophy ©UCI
The winners of the four categories at the end of the season will receive a replica trophy ©UCI

The UCI say the series will help to elevate track cycling, with the sport format and condensed calendar providing a series designed for mainstream television viewers with a clear narrative during the season.

The launch comes as part of a new eight-year partnership between the UCI and Discovery, alongside its dedicated event promotion business Eurosport Events.

"The launch of the UCI Track Champions League marks an important milestone in the history of track cycling, one of cycling's historic disciplines and one that has been part of the Olympic Games since the first modern Games in 1896," said David Lappartient, UCI President.

"Thanks to our strategic partnership with Discovery, a dynamic, fast-paced, television-friendly circuit will reach a new audience of track cycling fans.

"The discipline now has a compact annual calendar, based on the three highlights of the UCI Nations Cup, the UCI Track World Championships and the UCI Track Champions League. 

"Track cycling, which has been a resounding success at the Olympic Games, is thus equipped to shine annually during each Olympiad.

"I am very much looking forward to seeing this inaugural edition of the UCI Track Champions League take place in these iconic venues revealed today, and to seeing the first four men's and women's winners of the 2021 UCI Track Champions League, celebrated in December in Tel Aviv, Israel."

Eurosport Events are serving as the promoter of the UCI Track Champions League, with the events management division of Eurosport hoping to replicate success in supporting the World Touring Car Cup and European Rally Championships.

Eurosport Events has vowed to develop a strong fan experience for spectators at the events, with light shows and music expected as part of the series.

Live data is also expected to be shown on screen to viewers on television.

The top ranked riders in the series will wear a leader's jersey  ©UCI
The top ranked riders in the series will wear a leader's jersey ©UCI

"Today marks a major milestone in our commitment to cycling," said Fran֧֦cois Ribeiro, head of Eurosport Events.

"We believe the track discipline is one of the most exciting forms of cycle sport, but as the demands of audiences have evolved, there is an opportunity to present this in a new and highly compelling way.

"We’ve tapped into our unrivalled expertise in another high-adrenalin form of racing - motorsport - to refine the format and deliver an unprecedented on-event and on-screen experience to cycling fans.

"The UCI and Discovery announced the launch of the new UCI Track Cycling Champions League in March 2020.

"By deepening its long-term relationship with the UCI, Discovery is harnessing its global scale, extensive media platforms and promotion expertise to help grow cycling.

"The management, television production and distribution of the new UCI series will be entrusted to GCN, in collaboration with Eurosport Events."

The six rounds will be extensively broadcast across Discovery-owned channels including Eurosport, linear television and streaming plus the Global Cycling Network (GCN)+ and the GCN Racing digital channels.

Distribution partnerships with top tier broadcasters have reportedly been agreed for the series.

GCN are set to showcase six founding riders for the series, who have been awarded "wildcard" entries into the first edition.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy from Britain, Germany’s triple World Championship gold medallist Emma Hinze and the Netherlands’ Harrie Lavreysen, a six-time world champion, are among the riders selected.

French sprinter Mathilde Gros, Spain’s Sebastián Mora and Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaitė complete the list of founding riders.

The founding riders will help to promote the series on their social media channels and on broadcasters Eurosport and GCN.

The six round series is set to be broadcast on Eurosport, GCN and partner broadcasters ©UCI
The six round series is set to be broadcast on Eurosport, GCN and partner broadcasters ©UCI

The six riders were selected to represent countries hosting events during the opening season.

Other riders will be invited to participate from their UCI world ranking and performance at the UCI World Championships.

Germany's Kristina Vogel and Britain’s Sir Chris Hoy are ambassadors for the series, with the former riders having helped organisers to develop the format.

Andrew Georgiou, Eurosport and Discovery Global Sports Rights and Sports Marketing Solutions President, said the support for the series forms part of Eurosport’s ongoing efforts to be the home of cycling.

"We are privileged to work with such visionary leaders in the UCI and it is hugely exciting to see the UCI Track Champions League come to life," Georgiou said.

"We can’t wait for cycling fans to experience the first round this November, beginning a new chapter for track cycling and using Discovery's scale and platforms to bring audiences to the sport from all around the world.

"As the home of cycling and home of the Olympics, Discovery is uniquely placed to build a distinctive year-round narrative for track cycling and tell the sport's story in a sustained way between and during each Olympic Summer Games.

"Combining the best of sport and entertainment, featuring the world’s best track riders and teams within this dynamic new format, will set an outstanding stage for the sport."