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The International Olympic Committee approved a UCI recommendation to restructure track events at the 2012 Games in London, including the abandonment of individual pursuit events.
The changes were part of a plan to bring “gender equity” to track events at the Olympics, but resulted in the elimination of the individual pursuit for both men and women.
The changes will, however, increase the number of women cyclists at the Olympics from 35 in Beijing to 84 – 45 percent of track cyclists, versus 19 percent in Beijing – by introducing more track events for women. There will now be a total of five track cycling events for men and women. There were seven men’s events and three women’s events in Beijing.
Under the plan approved during an executive board meeting on Thursday, women will compete in sprint, team sprint, team keirin, team pursuit and new omnium events, while the individual pursuit, points race and Madison events will be dropped altogether.
IOC president Jacques Rogge defended the changes, underlining that they followed a UCI recommendation “to focus more on endurance events.”
The new Omnium event is already partt of the UCI’s world Championship program. It is cycling’s equivalent of the decathlon in athletics, with six competitions, including individual pursuit and a points race.