Long running soap operas, two pieces of news have finally given a degree of certainty to the track and road worlds, writes Philip Gomes.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Long running soap operas, two pieces of news have finally given a
degree of certainty to the track and road worlds, one is about
adaptation the other a clearer picture of the competitive situation in
grand tours.

In what can only be described as a Solomonic
splitting of the baby, the UCI has bowed to the IOC's request and
dropped some key track cycling endurance events in favour of a gender
equity approach.

In doing so we now see track events consolidated
and the Omnium extended to a sixth day, with an endurance event added
there to soften the blow to athletes affected by the changes.

Naturally
there has been much anxiety about this decision, with many endurance
track athletes now scrambling to either adapt to the changed
circumstances or looking to fast track a road career.

For
individual athletes this may not be too much of a problem. As Ben
Kersten and Bradley Wiggins show, there is life after track.

And
in a recent discussion I had with six-time world junior track champion
Megan Dunn, adaption is what it's all about.


Though only 19, she is also preparing the ground for a future road
career, finishing second to Rochelle Gilmore at the Cronulla Criterium
held this past weekend.

But as far as I'm concerned the Olympics
has a distorting effect on too many
sports, and for what it's worth, I think it's time for (track) cycling
to look to its own organised events for future security and get over its Olympic
obsession.

Track needs to work hard to elevate its events to the
same status of those that already exist in Tennis and Golf seasons -
where the Olympics is seen as a mere four year sideshow and their events
have more prestige.

The other big news is the on again off again
drama of Bradley Wiggins' move to the newly formed Team Sky - now resolved.

On
the surface Wiggins' move to Sky looks like a blow to the Garmin-Transitions team of
Jonathan Vaughters, but I don't think it is.

It's true that
Wiggins was a revelation at the 2009 Tour de France, but it's also true
that he could not have performed as well as he did without the incredible efforts
of Christian Vande Velde.

Vande Velde has somehow become the
forgotten man in cycling, a 4th place finish in 2008 saw the man from
Illinois feted in exactly the same way Wiggins currently is.

It's also
important to remember that Vande Velde finished 8th in the 2009 TdF.
Even his sub-par performances are quality ones.

The Vande Velde
story is one that Wiggins could easily replicate in 2010, lets call it a
sophomore jinx. One where after a breakout season a rider falls back a
bit under the weight of expectation, injury or sickness - much like the
famed world championship jinx.

So it is quite possible Wiggins
will suffer the same fate in 2010 that Vande Velde succumbed to in 2009,
and he certainly won't have the support at Sky of a rider of Vande Velde's
quality and experience.

For rabid road cycling fans in the UK, euphoric with
the news of Wiggins move and a possible British winner of the Grand
Boucle
, I'd suggest caution.

So the GC picture is no longer
murky, Wiggins will be Sky's main man and Vande Velde has the same
responsibilities for Garmin, both athletes who are more or less on the same
level.

However, they like Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Denis
Menchov, Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso will have to
put in the race of their lives to get past Andy Schleck and Alberto
Contador.

Still, looking at the list of names above, and any
number who may yet make their mark, it seems like the 2010 grand tours
and the Tour de France will be the most exciting and interesting in
years. The depth of talent of riders in their prime is staggering.