World Track Cycling Championships History
If you're interested in boning up on World Track Cycling Championships history, you have to start with UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale).The spelling probably gives it away, but I'll spell it out anyway. The UCI was formed in Paris, in 1900. The Union at that time was comprised of national cycling organizations in Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. The Union replaced the International Cycling Association when Britain tried to have teams representing Ireland, Scotland and Wales as opposed to just one team representing Great Britain. Because they took a stand and would not back down, they were not included in the UCI when it was formed, and were not allowed to join until 1903.
There are both men's and women's World Track Clycling Championships, with a winner from each being declared annually. The winner gets to wear the coveted "rainbow jersey" from the time they are declared winner through all of the next year's events, up until the next year's winner is announced. The World Track Cycling Championships are held in different countries every year. While the championship is run by the country hosting it, the judges are supplied by the UCI. Up until 1993, amateurs and professionals competed in separate events.
The two main formats of racing in world track cycling are endurance and sprint. Sprint riders focus on raw bursts of power which need to last from three to eight laps, and endurance riders go roughly double that, twelve to sixteen laps. Now that may not seem like much, but that's just what they do for the Team Pursuit and Individual races. When they get to "Madison" (so-named for when six-day races were held in Madison Square Garden), we're talking 200 laps. Those races began in the 1930's, when world track cycling was at the peak of it's popularity.
There are major competitions held annually, both in fixed distance and fixed track cycling times. The Summer Olympics of 2008 saw a seven to three ratio of events, with men having the lager share. In the 2012 events, this will be shifted to an even five to five ratio. The UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics and Championship are both held annually, with the Cup Classics being held during the winter track season and the Championships being held immediately after.
At 110 years and going strong, World Track Cycling is an international sport with many enthusiasts that will likely continue unabated for decades to come.