UCI Track Champions League: How does it work?

Everything you need to know about the track racing league, starting this weekend in Mallorca

Clock10:00, Thursday 19th October 2023
The Track Champions League is held over five rounds in four different venues

© Pauline Ballet

The Track Champions League is held over five rounds in four different venues

The UCI Track Champions League (TCL) was introduced in 2021 in a bid to revolutionise and revive the sport of track cycling. The event focuses on fast-paced, easy-to-understand races.

As it's now the biggest track series of the winter, the TCL attracts big names as they begin their campaign towards the Paris 2024 Olympics, with the likes of Katie Archibald, Harrie Lavreysen and Mark Stewart all confirmed for this year's league.

With the opening round of the 2023 series taking place in Mallorca this Saturday (October 21), there’s no better time than now to take a dive into the exciting world of the Track Champions League and get to know exactly how it works.

The league comprises five rounds held over three action-packed weeks in four different locations across Europe. Starting on October 21 in Mallorca, the race will then head to Berlin and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines just outside of Paris over the next fortnight. A double-header in London rounds out the series on November 11 and 12.

Each round sees 36 men and 36 women racing against one another in four different events - two Endurance races and two Sprint races. Find the full list of riders for the 2023 series here.

Read more: Katie Archibald, Neah Evans among first confirmed names for UCI Track Champions League

Riders earn points through their results in these events and those with the most by the end of round five will be declared the winners of their respective Sprint League or Endurance League. Prize money for both men and women across the competition is equal.

What events make up the Track Champions League?

ENDURANCE

Scratch race

Scratch races are some of the simplest races to take place on a velodrome. Eighteen riders set off in one big bunch and the first over the line after 20 laps (5km) wins - simple.

Elimination race

Like in the scratch race, 18 riders set off in one big bunch. After every two laps, however, the last-placed rider across the finish line is withdrawn from the race. One by one the bunch is whittled down until just two riders remain, with a sprint deciding the winner.

SPRINT

Keirin

This sprint event can trace its roots back to Japan where it was first created as a race for punters to gamble on. At the TCL, groups of six riders will sprint against one another over five laps of the track. The first two laps will be ridden behind a motorised ‘derny’ bike which gradually ramps up the speed before peeling off to let the sprinters race for the win over the last three laps.

Individual sprint

Revamped for the TCL, the individual sprint will see three riders face off against one another over three laps of the track. The first rider over the line wins. Only in the final round will the event revert to the traditional format and see two riders go toe-to-toe.

How are points won in the Track Champions League?

Points are awarded for a rider’s positioning in each event and contribute to their ranking in the Endurance and Sprint leaderboards. The winner of each event will earn 20 points, going down incrementally to one point for 15th place.

At the end of each round, the rider at the top of each leaderboard will receive a leader’s jersey and wear it at the next round. The rider with the most points at the end of the five-round series will then be declared the overall winner. All together, four overall winners will be crowned: men’s Endurance League winner, men’s Sprint League winner, women’s Endurance League winner and women’s Sprint League winner.

In 2022, Matt Richardson and Mathilde Gros won the Sprint Leagues, whilst Claudio Imhof and Jennifer Valente were the Endurance champions.

When can I watch the Track Champions League on GCN+?

All five rounds of the UCI Track Champions League will be broadcast worldwide, live and ad-free on GCN+, with live shows providing additional analysis and interviews from inside the velodrome. The schedule for the 2023 series is as follows:

  • October 21 | Round 1 - Mallorca (Velòdrom Illes Balears)
  • October 28 | Round 2 - Berlin (Berlin Velodrom)
  • November 4 | Round 3 - Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (Velodrome National de St-Quentin-En-Yvelines)
  • November 10 | Round 4 - London (Lee Valley VeloPark)
  • November 11 | Round 5 - London (Lee Valley VeloPark)

Head over to GCN+ now to check the broadcast times in your region so you don't miss a minute of the TCL action. Plus, catch up with all the behind-the-scenes action from the 2022 series with our Back on Track documentary series

Related Content

Link to Geraint Thomas crashes at Giro d'Italia but finishes alongside Tadej Pogačar and GC rivals
Geraint Thomas on stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas crashes at Giro d'Italia but finishes alongside Tadej Pogačar and GC rivals

'It was just a stupid little mistake' says Ineos Grenadiers leader after late fall

Clock
Link to Life as a GCN presenter: Behind the scenes with Manon Lloyd at the Women's UAE Tour
unknown

Life as a GCN presenter: Behind the scenes with Manon Lloyd at the Women's UAE Tour

From travelling to capturing key info for our videos, go behind the scenes with Manon Lloyd at the UAE Tour

Clock
Link to How are WorldTour cycling kits designed?
Some of the fresh WorldTour kits for 2024

How are WorldTour cycling kits designed?

GCN spoke exclusively to designers and teams to understand more about the design process behind a jersey fit for the WorldTour

Clock
Link to Valtteri Bottas sets searing Strava time on Willunga Hill ahead of its Tour Down Under return
Valtteri Bottas recently posted a hot effort up Adelaide's Willunga Hill climb

Valtteri Bottas sets searing Strava time on Willunga Hill ahead of its Tour Down Under return

The Formula 1 driver has already impressed with his gravel exploits but recently raised eyebrows with his effort up South Australia's most iconic climb

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox