Great Britain sprint coach Iain Dyer has said that an updated UCI rule, which permits two riders per nation to compete in the sprint and keirin at the 2016 Olympic Games, will ensure that the best riders in the world are present.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games only one rider per nation could compete in individual events on the track. But the new ruling means a larger and higher quality field – something which Dyer welcomes.
“The most important thing now for track cycling within the Olympics is that the competition is deeper and is high quality.
“Just for the integrity of the event…that we have got the best riders in the world racing and what this ruling does is increase that possibility.”
The rule update came following a review process with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was confirmed by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as part of a document detailing the qualification procedure for all cycling events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
But Dyer says there is still some clarification needed from the UCI on exactly how this will work.
“At the moment we are still not clear how the points structure will work out but if we are able to qualify for the 2016 Olympics via the team sprint (as we would usually look to do), then we have got the added bonus of being able to enter more riders than we did in London.”
Dyer predicts that the situation will increase morale in a talented Great Britain squad, which previously left riders fighting for a sole Olympic place.
“The chance to ride any event at the Olympics is a big deal. When you are shooting for your place and you hear there are more places available, I’m sure that will be a nice boost to the guys.”
Despite the change, Dyer is quick to point out that having two riders instead of one isn’t going to make it any easier in terms of medal acquisitions in Rio.
“The chance to add to the medal tally is going to remain as tough as ever because obviously we are not the only nation benefitting from this new ruling. So now we are going to face, I would guess, an extra French sprinter, an extra German sprinter and extra Australian sprinter and so on.”