A series of changes have been announced to the qualification system for Olympic cycling with the aim of strengthening the competition across the road, track, BMX and mountain bike disciplines in time for the Rio Games in 2016.
Nations will now be able to enter two athletes in the men’s and women’s individual sprint and Keirin races, up from one under the previous system. At the London Olympics, this rule cost Sir Chris Hoy the chance to defend his title in the men’s sprint as team-mate Jason Kenny was selected ahead of him, leaving Hoy to settle for golds in the team sprint and Keirin.
The host nation will now automatically be granted a spot in all four disciplines, rather than just BMX as was the case in London.
For road cycling, there is a major increase in the number of quota places allocated from the Africa Tour circuit, rising from five to nine, while in BMX, three more nations will be allowed to compete in Rio compared with London.
UCI president Brian Cookson said: “After a detailed process of review with the IOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees [Anoc], I am delighted that the cycling qualification systems for the Rio 2016Olympic Games have now been approved.
“I am particularly pleased that we can look forward to more nations competing in BMX and that extra quota places have been made available through the Africa Tour circuit for Road and that we will see more of the world’s very best riders compete in the individual sprint and Keirin.
“With Brazil being granted quota places for Road, Mountain Biking and BMX, the 2016 Games provide a genuine opportunity to build on the already significant progress the sport has witnessed there in recent years.
“Today’s confirmation of qualification systems really does signal the count-down for riders aspiring to compete in the Rio Olympic Games.”