(Also published at CyclistsInternational)
We recently caught up with Peter Rengel, the new president of the International Velodrome Union (UIV or Union Internationale des Velodromes,) to ask him how he envisions the return of the Six-Day track race to the United States, and the rebirth of the importance of track here. Cyclists International and NCA Cycling shared the interview with Mr. Rengel.
Rengel replaced Henrik Elmgreen who had been at the post for 24 years and wanted to retire. Rangel himself is project organizer of the Bremen Six Day, and will now work as UIV president at the same time. At the moment he said he is “taking over the UIV-office-work to Bremen.” One of the planned changes is “to build up a greater network of track cycling organizers,” he added.
NCA/CI: What you think regarding Six-Day coming back to America?
PR: Every Six-Day-race is different. Look at the different websites of organizers in Europe but at the end our mutuality is the Madison. The team-race with two riders and at the end of every sixday-race one lap more is better than 350 points. Six-Day-racing is a team-sport and every organizer is doing it in a little different way but we all love track racing. Rotterdam is different to Gent. Zürich is different to Fiorenzuolla and Bremen is different to Berlin and Kopenhagen. This is not a problem because with these races we have jobs for our riders. We all have a big public during these 6 days. For example last week in Bremen we had more than 60,000 spectators.
We need more track-contests for our riders worldwide. Every event more means more time for our track-stars to ride and to present this fascinating worldwide sport. We have to coordinate the dates with all organizers and with the UCI. We organize track cycling. We have great competions and we transport emotions to the public and at the end we have to inspire sponsors for our “matter of the heart”. At the moment our network between the actors in track-cycling must be more developed.
NCA/CI: As new chief of the UIV, is there something special you would like to do with track racing in the U.S.? How do you see it changing over the next couple of years?
PR: One of our great first aims with this small organization is to become more present in the public and in the world of sports. At the moment nearly all members are from Europe. With Jack [Simes, president of NCA Cycling,] we have only one member who is not from Europe. For UIV it is a very important signal that we have one member in the United States. We have to acquire more members in Europe and worldwide, because track cycling is an Olympic sport and you can find it all over the world. We have to grow up and we have fight that the Madison race will find the way back in the Olympic games. The UIV also has to build up a worldwide press distributer via mail and new medias (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) to transport special track cycling informations to the public. And it would be nice to find partners of the cycle industry to support the UIV.
NCA/CI: Are you excited about the prospects? And do you think it will change
bike racing in the U.S.? Perhaps maybe is it something that should have come long time ago, and is now overdue?
PR: Every new Six-Day race must find it`s own way. UIV will support every new organizer. We have a lot of knowledge but every location is different. The sport organization of a Six days can come easily to every part of the world. I think that only a local organizer can assess the local market. Especially with regard to sponsoring, advertising and ticket sales. These tasks are particularly difficult and the most challenging.
We would appreciate it if there were in the United States a new race. Madison or Americaine started in 1899. It is a part of US sports history. Let the dream come through … but also one day or more day races are welcome.
NCA/CI: It appears as if track racing could really enjoy an amazing comeback with people like Jack Simes starting to build indoor tracks, as we used to have before WWII. Since cycling has become so popular in the U.S., it seems only logical that the next step is to grow Six-Day. Would you agree?
PR: UIV welcomes and supports each new race, regardless of whether one day race or a sixday race. We need dedicated people to develop our sport and to bring it to a bigger public. Jack is one of these guys who could move thing up. At the end it is no one man show. You need a team and sponsors and supporters.