The 2020 UCI Track World Championships take place in Berlin, Germany, from 26 February–1 March. Here’s a guide to the event, including schedule, ticket information, and athletes to watch.
Nearly 400 riders from 46 countries are set to gather in Berlin for the 2020 UCI Track World Championships.
There will be 20 sets of medals on offer in the German capital over five days from 26 February–1 March.
It is the first time since 1999 that Berlin has hosted the World Championships, although the velodrome’s track was rebuilt in 2017 for safety reasons.
This is the final event in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification window for track cyclists, with the ranking cut-off on 2 March.
Big names to watch include husband-and-wife Olympic champions Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny of Great Britain, Australia’s Stephanie Morton, and hosts Germany’s two-time Madison world champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt.
Injury struggle for Laura Kenny
Speaking to the Olympic Channel at Great Britain’s pre-World Championships media day, Laura Kenny said she suffered an injury blow leading up to the competition.
“I broke my shoulder three weeks ago,” she said.
Kenny, who under her maiden name Laura Trott won team pursuit and omnium gold in Rio, says she still hopes to do both events in Tokyo as well as targeting the Madison which will make its Olympic debut as a women’s event.
“I want to do three events in Tokyo, but I might not be able to do a Madison change-over again, we don’t know.
“I’ve opted against surgery, but overall I feel good and I feel relaxed, actually.”
While she is listed on the start-list for both the omnium and scratch race in Berlin, Kenny told Olympic Channel she would only do one event.
Husband Jason, meanwhile, said the birth of son Albert has made him more laid-back.
“Albi is starting nursery now, and I’m not so single-minded on cycling now,” he said.
“Lots of parents say they hit their best performance after having kids, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Others to follow
Six-time world champion Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands is one of a whole host of other big names to keep an eye on in Berlin.
The 37-year-old Dutchwoman is the two-time defending champion in one of track cycling’s most difficult events, the omnium.
She will be heavily favoured to win that event again, having also clinched both the European Championship and European Games omnium titles in 2019.
Russia’s team sprint pair of Daria Shmeleva and Anastasia Voinova, the Rio 2016 silver medallists, will look to regain the top spot on the World podium for the first time since 2017 after silver in 2019 and bronze in 2018. Standing in their way will be defending champions Morton and Kaarle McCulloch of Australia.
Men’s sprint (200m flying time trial) world record holder Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago will be his country’s sole representative in Germany.
His 9.100 seconds set at the Pan American Championships in September 2019 at altitude in Bolivia took 0.247 seconds off the previous record. The 21-year-old currently sits eighth on the UCI’s Track Olympic Rankings in sprint, and looks likely to book his spot to Tokyo 2020.
Italy will be well-represented in Germany, with 23 riders set to take to the track including young prospect Letizia Paternoster.
Also included are the men’s individual pursuit world record holder Filippo Ganna, who broke the old mark twice in one day and lowered the record by nearly three seconds, and Olympic omnium champion Elia Viviani.
A lesser-known name to follow will be Canadian Kelsey Mitchell, who put the world on notice with a breakthrough 2019.
The sprinter, who only took up cycling in 2017 aged 23, claimed two medals at last year’s Pan American Games including gold in the individual event.
She also currently holds the world record for the women’s 200m flying time trial.
Ambassador Kristina Vogel
The two-time Olympic gold medallist, who also won 11 world titles during her career, says the Championships will be a bit like a transit point for many teams eyeing Tokyo 2020.
She said: “Some nations will experiment a little and other nations and athletes still have to qualify for Tokyo.
“The World Championships just before the Olympic Games will be very hard and very fast.
“You can tell: the Olympic Games are coming; they are getting closer. All nations prepare intensively for the World Championships and will ride brutally in Berlin.”
Ticket information and more
The Berlin Velodrome is host to many international events, and is no stranger to the World Championships.
It was originally opened in 1997, having been part of Berlin’s candidature for the 2000 Olympic Games, which were eventually awarded to Sydney.
Prior to the track being rebuilt in 2017, the venue hosted the 1997 European track championships, a track World Cup stop in 1998, and the 1999 World Championships.
It also hosts the annual Berlin Six-Day Race, and last held a major championships in 2017 with the Europeans.
The current track, built using Siberian spruce wood, has a width of 7.5 metres, and has an inclination of between 13 and 45 degrees.
Tickets to the Championships are still available.
They cost from 15 to 30 euros (approximately U.S. $16 to 32) each day. Premium tickets are also available at 55 to 60 euros (U.S. $59 to 65) daily.
Weekend passes, covering only Saturday 29 February and Sunday 1 March, are on sale for 38 to 52 euros (U.S. $41 to 56).
Fans wanting to buy a five-day pass to every session will have to pay between 72 and 95 euros (U.S. $78 to 103).
Berlin 2020 schedule
Competition will take place across two sessions on each of the five days. Finals will take place in the second session every day. All times are Central European Time, UTC +1 hour.
Wednesday 26 February (three medal finals)
Women’s team pursuit qualifying
Men’s team pursuit qualifying
Men’s team pursuit first round
Women’s team sprint qualifying and finals
Men’s team sprint qualifying and finals
Women’s 10 km scratch race final
Thursday 27 February (four medal finals)
Men’s keirin qualifying
Women’s sprint qualifying
Women’s sprint quarter-finals
Women’s team pursuit finals
Men’s team pursuit finals
Men’s 15 km scratch race final
Men’s keirin final
Friday 28 February (five medal finals)
Women’s omnium scratch race and tempo race
Men’s 1000 m time trial qualifying
Men’s individual pursuit qualifying
Women’s omnium elimination race and points race
Men’s 1000 m time trial final
Men’s individual pursuit final
Women’s sprint semi-finals and final
Men’s 40 km points race final
Saturday 29 February (four medal finals)
Men’s omnium scratch race and tempo race
Women’s 500 m time trial qualifying
Women’s individual pursuit qualifying
Men’s sprint qualifying
Men’s omnium elimination race and points race
Women’s 500 m time trial final
Women’s individual pursuit final
Men’s sprint quarter-finals
Women’s 30 km Madison final
Sunday 1 March (four medal finals)
Men’s sprint semi-finals
Women’s keirin qualifying
Women’s 25 km points race final
Men’s sprint final
Women’s keirin final
Men’s 50 km Madison final