Bradley Wiggins is on the money when he says the International OlympicCommittee is "trying to kill off track endurance events" come the 2012London Games., writes Mike Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Bradley Wiggins is on the money when he says the International Olympic
Committee is "trying to kill off track endurance events" come the 2012
London Games.

The IOC has pledged to even up the men and women programs which is currently lopsided by 7-3 for the men for the track events.

While
I'm definitely not against allowing women "equal rights", by reducing
the men's programs it'll force male riders to either quit the sport or
turn to the road.

This is important because track endurance
cycling has been the backbone of the sport in Britain and Australia for
more than a century.

Thumb through the history books and
track events have always been a part of the sporting landscape,
particularly in Australia where many cycling champions have been
produced down the years.

From Edgar "Dunc" Gray to Brad
McGee, from Danny Clark to Cameron Meyer Aussies have dominated the
velodromes at Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth Games level.


But I fear times are-a-changing and track cycling may not quite have the appeal to either rider, spectator (and the IOC for that matter), as it once may have.

As
a passionate follower of all forms of cycling, I make my observations
from the quality of male riders from nations currently competing at the
elite level outside either Australia or Great Britain.

At
this year's UCI track cycling World Championships in Poland, 19 gold
medals were decided with Australia, France, Great Britain, Denmark and
Germany collecting a combined total of 13 - that's a ratio of more than
68 percent.

That compares to the self-represented riders from 29 nations who started the 2009 Tour de France from Monaco.

It
tells me only a handful of nations are committed to providing proper
funding for a sport which requires money - and lots of it.

Few nations of the 200-plus affiliated with the IOC can afford to buy a bike let alone provide funding for a track cycling team, riders and a velodrome in which to train.

And
at a time when the professional road scene has so much worldwide appeal
courtesy of the global exposure it receives from the big Grand Tours,
it's the track scene that's being left out in the cold and, sadly,
neglected.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but riders would prefer
to follow the lure of the money that can be made from the pro-scene,
rather than rely on government funding which is the case for track
riders.

Name me a rider who has got rich from a successful
track career, and I'll name you several professional roadies who are
living a life of luxury?

Take Chris Hoy for example who is
perhaps the highest profiled track rider in the world today. While he
may be making a comfortable living, the money he earns pales into
insignificance to the likes of Lance Armstrong, AlbertoContador and Cadel Evans.

It
hurts Wiggins to say that endurance track cycling is on the way out -
after all he's earned his keep as a triple Olympic gold medalist and
six-time world champion.

But with the road scene now the commercial "heartbeat" of world cycling, it seems trackies are starting to see the writing on the wall?