Track Cycling European Championships 2020: Things to know

Individual pursuit world record holder Filippo Ganna of Italy will miss the event after testing positive for coronavirus.

By ZK Goh

The track cycling European Championships take place this week in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, amid uncertainties and a host of withdrawals due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

While the organisers and the European Cycling Union (UEC) are both providing medical and logistical support given the circumstances, the health situation elsewhere in Europe has led to a reduced number of entries, with both teams and individual cyclists opting out.

That notwithstanding, cyclists representing 22 countries will compete at the Plovdiv Kolodrum for the right to wear the European champion jersey in 22 disciplines.

Notably, of the 11 men's champions from last year, only one – Sebastian Mora of Spain in the scratch race – will be present to defend his title, while on the women's side five of the 11 defending champions will compete, including Russia in the team sprint and Great Britain in the team pursuit.
Of the 22 events on the calendar, only 12 are contested at the Olympic Games.

Five events for each gender – the time trial, individual pursuit, points race, scratch race, and elimination race – are not part of the Olympic programme, although the latter three all form part of the omnium event.

Who to look out for

Denmark, France, and the Netherlands are three major cycling countries that have decided against sending any cyclists to the Championships.

Other big cycling countries, like Germany and Great Britain, are sending reduced men's teams – Germany will be represented by a sole rider, keirin and sprint specialist Maximilian Levy, while GB have selected just three endurance cyclists including last year's omnium bronze medallist Oliver Wood.

As a result, the men's competitions will certainly be wide open.

Russia would appear to be the main benefactors, with a team led by Olympic bronze medallist Denis Dmitriev. Italy, meanwhile, were expecting to count on the services of the new road cycling time trial world champion Filippo Ganna, but he has withdrawn following a positive coronavirus test.

Ganna had intended to compete in both the team pursuit and individual pursuit, with an eye on lowering his own individual world record.

The Brits have sent a strong women's team, however, and should figure among the medals. Defending team pursuit champions Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Neah Evans, and Laura Kenny are back (along with Irish-raised Josie Knight, who has switched nationalities) are all in the endurance team, while Katy Marchant and Sophie Capewell return with the sprint team.

Russia are also likely to be one of the leading nations in the women's events, on the back of Olympic silver medallists Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova, who are also two-time world and four-time European champions in the team sprint.

Health regulations

Organisers are providing coronavirus tests to athletes on site for a charge, and the UEC has required all competitors to sign a self-declaration that they are free from any symptoms of illness to take part.

All team members, including staff, had to return negative coronavirus tests at most 72 hours before arriving in Bulgaria before they were let in. However, there is no "bubble" or self-quarantine system being enforced by the organising committee.

Teams have been told that if a team member tests positive for coronavirus, the entire team will not be allowed to race until each team member passes another test. Three positive tests in a single team results in the team's exclusion from the championships.

2020 UEC Track Elite European Championships provisional schedule

Schedule correct as of 9 November 2020. All times local (UTC +2 hours).

Wednesday 11 November

13:00–16:32 Women's and men's team sprint qualification, Women's and men's team pursuit qualification

18:00–20:52 Women's and men's team sprint first round, Women's scratch race 10 km final, Men's elimination race final, women's and men's team pursuit first round, women's and men's team sprint medal finals

Thursday 12 November

13:00–16:58 Women's and men's sprint 200m time trial qualifying, round of 32, and round of 16

18:00–21:04 Women's and men's sprint quarter-finals first race, men's scratch race 15 km final, women's and men's sprint quarter-finals second race, women's elimination race final, women's and men's sprint quarter-finals third race if required, women's and men's team pursuit medal finals

Friday 13 November

13:00–15:14 Women's and men's omnium qualification points race (if required), women's and men's omnium scratch race, women's individual pursuit 3 km qualification, women's and men's omnium tempo race

18:00–21:51 Women's and men's sprint semi-finals first race, Women's omnium elimination race, Women's and men's sprint semi-finals second race, Men's omnium elimination race, Women's and men's sprint semi-finals third race if required, women's individual pursuit 3 km medal finals, women's and men's sprint medal finals first race, women's omnium points race, women's and men's sprint medal finals second race, men's omnium points race, women's and men's sprint medal finals third race if required

Saturday 14 November

13:00–15:42 Women's and men's keirin first round, men's individual pursuit 4 km qualification, Women's and men's keirin repechage first round

18:00–21:02 Women's and men's keirin semi-finals, men's individual pursuit 4 km medal finals, women's points race 25 km final, men's points race 40 km final, Women's and men's keirin finals

Sunday 15 November

10:30–13:00 Women's and men's Madison qualification (if required), women's time trial 500 m qualification, men's time trial 1 km qualification

14:00–17:11 Women's time trial 500 m final, Men's time trial 1 km final, Women's Madison 30 km final, Men's Madison 50 km final


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