Sir Chris Hoy believes the UCI Track Champions League can create new cycling fans when it returns to London next month.
The five-date competition, which got its second season underway in Mallorca last weekend, features some of the world’s best riders including Britain’s Dame Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald.
London’s Lee Valley VeloPark is set to host the last two rounds of the Champions League, which will decide the sprint, scratch, keirin and elimination winners over 2 and 3 December.
“I think already in the first season it has succeeded in raising the profile of the sport,” Hoy told City A.M. “We’re reaching out to a whole new audience and I think the riders in the international scene are desperate to be part of it.
“I’m really excited that London is going to host the final two rounds of the Champions League. It’s a great platform for cycling in Britain to keep hosting these major events, keeping the fans enthused and letting the riders shine in front of a home crowd.”
Hoy added: “I really do hope that the Track Champions League is the springboard for success that cycling needs. I’m biased – I’ve been in love with the sport since I was 13 and first rode in a velodrome.
“It’s got everything you need from a sport and as a visual spectacle for the fans it’s great, we just haven’t had it promoted to a wider audience. It’s always been a niche sport and it’s the kind of thing you see once every four years at an Olympic Games.
“This to me is such an important part of track cycling’s expansion and becoming a truly global sport, that fans become engaged, get to know the athletes, follow them on the docuseries Back On Track, and start to care about them.
“The format hasn’t been dumbed down and we haven’t pandered to attention spans – for me, it’s the perfect format and combination of a spectacle and elite athletic performance.
“It’s the best athletes in the world, just off the back of the World Championships and still in incredible condition, packaged in a way that is really exciting to watch.
“All the fat has been trimmed off this, for me it’s the distilled version of everything that’s good about track cycling.”
Hurry to buy your tickets for the UCI Track Champions League at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark on Friday 2 December. See Ticketmaster for details. Saturday 3 December is sold out.