With the aim of achieving parity in the Paris Olympic Games, it has been arranged that disciplines such as road or MTB have to significantly reduce their presence in the next event of the five rings, scheduled for the summer of 2024.

Specifically, on the road there will be 88 men and as many women, reducing to a maximum of four cyclists for the five best countries, while in the mountains the number will be 34 for each sex, with two ‘bikers’ as a limit in the case of the eight best nations.

However, the presence on the track has been increased without this implying that there will be more track players than initially expected, 95 men and as many women, partly because the game was almost over.

The team pursuit -the test that best represents the technical work of a country- will have ten nations in each of the sexes, thus meeting a general demand from the countries that put more effort into the track, well channeled by the UCI, considering that eight was a very small number.

In the short term, the measure is positive for Paris 2024, qualifying for the Olympic Games up to ten quatrains, a possible mission for some federations, especially European ones. The increase does mean a breath of hope for those countries that had a hard time being among the top eight, and now have real options.

Two years from now, and with all that the forecasts imply, among men the greatest options fall on Italy, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain or Germany. They should not have problems repeating their Olympic presence, the same as France, even if they were not in Tokyo. Switzerland -if it maintains the individualities that make a difference- and Canada also start with the advantage of experience, while Japan and, above all, Russia, from the emerging countries, could add ten qualifiers.

Among the women, Germany, Great Britain, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy and France are the best placed at the start line, with Ireland doing a great job, as are the Netherlands and Korea, candidate countries to fight for these additional places.

In this case, we must refer to Belgium, which was left out of Tokyo 2020 because France beat it for a place in the World Cup in Berlin, and which now finds itself with a dismembered quartet, having to start from scratch.

Reduction in Madison

The increase in places in the pursuits entails a reduction in Madison, which goes from 16 to 15 couples, although what is important is the change in the classification system, since of the eight places that were in Tokyo based on the specific ranking, it goes to five. Obviously these reductions hurt countries without options to enter via team pursuit.

In the omnium, which also reduces the direct classification to only seven cyclists, compared to the twelve in Tokyo, who will be together with the fifteen in Madison.

Obviously it’s still too early to make a forecast of medals, but the presence in a World Cup -the test that awards the most Olympic points- is not automatic and you also have to qualify by fighting in the different ‘minor’ competitions on the international calendar.