Riders await new date for test event

With DerbyWheel’s test event missing its proposed April 26-28 dates, organisers and riders now face a number of practical challenges in choosing a new date before the end of June, as promised.

After a relatively quiet spring, there are a number of well-established UCI C1 and C2 events scheduled for May and June; and track time at the Newport velodrome in south Wales, still expected to host the test event, is always in high demand.

Many UK-based sprinters will be at Newport on May 26, for the annual Black Line Open, part of British Cycling’s National Sprinters League series. The meet was scheduled at short notice, when track time became available in the wake of DerbyWheel’s cancellation.

There are C1 sprint events listed for May 31 – June 1 in Cottbus, Germany; June 7-8 in Brno, Czechia; and June 28-30 in Ghent, Belgium. These usually feature strong international fields, including some elite riders with Olympic ambitions.

At the lower C2 level, there are events in Dublin (June 1-2), London (June 13-14), Athens (June 21-22), Frankfurt an der Oder (June 21-22), and Sofia (June 26-27). These races would typically attract good national-level riders, whom we might expect to see in DerbyWheel’s A or B classes.

Riders may find themselves having to decide between following through on existing race plans, or withdrawing from existing commitments in order to participate in the DerbyWheel test event.

For DerbyWheel’s younger riders, many will also have an eye on the European Junior and U23 championships, held on July 9-14 at Cottbus, Germany. Even if the UCI situation is resolved in time, a DerbyWheel test event in late June may not sit well with their training plans.

There has been no explicit statement as to whether participation in a test event would be considered sanctionable. The induction sessions at Melbourne and Manchester were private events, with the lack of prize money making them easy to overlook. But the test event has promised big paychecks, surely making the UCI unlikely to be so forgiving.