The Track European Cycling Championships for the Elite category, scheduled for Apeldoorn (Netherlands) from 10 to 14 January, will open the Union Européenne de Cyclisme’s series of events for 2024.
This important event takes on a major dimension this season, as it represents one of the key stages in the march towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games; in fact, it is one of the last qualifiers for the Olympic qualification phase for the French event, which will take place from 5 to 11 August 2024 as far as Track cycling is concerned.
The importance of the continental event is confirmed by the presence among the participants (292 in total, 123 women and 169 men from 25 countries) of the best European specialists who, over the course of the five days of racing, will compete for the 22 titles at stake, 11 in the women's category and 11 in the men's category.
In the women's category, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions in the Team Pursuit, Germany's Franziska Brausse, Mieke Kroeger and Lisa Klein, will be in attendance, as will the multi-titled Katie Archibald, the Briton with a career that includes two Olympic gold medals, five world championship titles and twenty European Championship titles.
These champions are joined by French sprinters Mathilde Gros and Taky Marie-Divine Kouamé, multi-titled German sprinters Emma Hinze, Pauline Grabosch and Lea Sophie Friedrich, World Road, Elimination and Points Race champion Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) and Britons Elinor and Megan Barker, Josie Knight, Anna Morris (reigning world champion in the Team Pursuit with Katie Archibald) and Neah Evans.
Italy's Elisa Balsamo, Chiara Consonni, Martina Fidanza, Vittoria Guazzini, Ireland's Iara Gillespie, Norway's Anita Stenberg and local athletes Kyra Lamberink, Marit Raaijmakers, Steffie Van der Peet and Hetty Van der Wouw will be among the other athletes at the start.
The men's Team Pursuit will feature three of the four Italians who won gold at the Tokyo Games: Simone Consonni, Francesco Lamon and Jonathan Milan: Simone Consonni, Francesco Lamon and Jonathan Milan will be joined by other endurance specialists such as Great Britain's Dan Bigham, Ethan Vernon and Ethan Hayter, the Olympic champions in the Madison race Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Mørkøv (Denmark), Benjamin Thomas and Donovan Grondin (France), Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt (Germany), Sebastian Mora and Albert Torres (Spain), and Ivo and Rui Oliveira and Iúri Leitão (Portugal).
Races in the sprint sector will be strengthened by the multiple Dutch world champions and Olympic champions in the Team Sprint: Harrie Lavreysen, Roy van den Berg and Jeffrey Hoogland, the latter holding the world record for the standing start kilometre (55".433). Other big names include Jack Carlin, Hamish Turnbull and Joseph Truman (Great Britain), Mateusz Rudyk (Poland), Rayan Helal and Quentin Lafargue (France) and Maximilian Dörnbach (Germany).
Enrico Della Casa, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: "The Elite Track European Championships are the perfect way to kick off what will be a particularly busy season for the sport, and for cycling in particular, culminating in the Olympic Games in Paris. With the Olympics in mind, the Apeldoorn Championships will be of crucial importance, offering certain athletes the opportunity to guarantee their participation in the Olympic Games.
Thanks to our agreement with Eurovision, the event will benefit from extensive television coverage, bringing this extraordinary spectacle into the homes of millions of viewers across Europe. The multi-year agreement, until 2029, between the UEC and Eurovision reinforces our commitment to promote cycling and to offer many fans and our partners an even more attractive experience. 2024 also marks the start of a partnership, running until 2029, between the UEC and Swiss Timing, a recognised world leader in the design and production of timekeeping systems, results management and television graphics for sporting events.
Our well-established relationship with the town of Apeldoorn, the velodrome at the modern Apeldoorn Omnisport complex and the organisers, Société Libema Profcycling, will be crucial to the success of this event, as it has been in previous years with the organisation of three European Championships. The synergistic collaboration with the local authorities, the enthusiastic support of the partners and the excellent facilities at the velodrome will enable us to offer a competition of the highest level.
I would like to thank the Dutch Cycling Federation, with its President Maurice Leeser and the Chair Wouter Bos, the organisers of Libema Profcycling, the City of Apeldoorn, Mayor Ton Heerts, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Province of Gelderland, the Omnisport structure and all the volunteers involved for their commitment and cooperation."