Romero calls Olympic track changes 'ludicrous'
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Romero calls Olympic track changes 'ludicrous'

by Conal Andrews at 2:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track

Beijing gold medallist Rebecca Romero has blasted the decision to drop key events, including her individual pursuit discipline, from the Olympic programme.

"I was very shocked," the British rider was quoted as saying in the Guardian. "I'm all in favour of making it fairer between males and females, but I just think these proposed changes are ludicrous and could potentially destroy track cycling. I think it's too radical and unnecessary and I can't understand the reasoning behind it.

"I thought changes to the Olympic programme were supposed to create inclusion, but I just see that it will create exclusion. If the IOC let it go through then there has to be some reasoning behind it – I'd like to have it explained to me."

Under a plan to create a gender balance between the number of men’s and women’s events – and thus redressing the 7-3 event imbalance that existed in Beijing – the UCI is rumoured to be set to drop the men and women’s individual pursuits and points races, along with the men’s madison. The new programme is expected to feature the sprint, keirin, team sprints, team pursuits and the multi-discipline omnium.

If so, Romero would also lose out on the chance to improve on her eleventh place in the points race. She’s not impressed. "I've lost two of my events that I could potentially medal in in London," she stated.

"I think we should move towards equality between males and females in terms of the number of medals available, but I just think this isn't equality in terms of sprint and endurance riders. You're taking away, essentially, with regards to the individual pursuit, one of the purest forms of competition that there is on the track for an athlete. I'm just disappointed that I won't be able to go and defend my title in London."

Romero feels that double champion Bradley Wiggins is likely to be even more disappointed. "It's probably even more of a hit to him," she stated. "He could've been aiming to go to London to do something really special and try and win his third title in that event."

The former rower took silver in the quadruple sculls in 2004, then made the transition to cycling. She’s resigned to having to reinvent herself once again, and will now focus on the road time trial. "I'm going to have to start again in an event that I haven't competed in before and be an unknown again," she said. "It'll be difficult, but I know that I've done it before and you've just got to work with it. That's life."


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