Romero 'shocked' by Olympic changes

Individual pursuit gold medalist may see event disappear

British Olympic champion Rebecca Romero has hit out at "ludicrous" plans to change the track cycling programme which would mean she could not defend her title at the 2012 Games in London.

Romero won Olympic individual pursuit gold in Beijing last year but her event is in danger of disappearing from the Olympic programme as part of a plan to ensure male and female cyclists compete in the same number of events.

There are presently seven track events for men and three for women.

But under plans drawn up by cycling's world governing body, the UCI, the men's and women's individual pursuits, men's and women's points race and the men's Madison would disappear from the Olympic programme.

If these are approved by Olympic chiefs in December, both Romero - a rowing silver medallist at the 2004 Athens Games - and Britain's Bradley Wiggins would not have individual titles to defend in London.

"I'm all in favour of making it fairer between males and females, but I just think these proposed changes are ludicrous and could potentially destroy track cycling," Romero said Wednesday.

The 29-year-old added: "I think we should move towards equality between males and females in the medals available, but I just think this isn't equality in terms of sprint and endurance riders."

Romero is now planning to switch to the time trial in a bid to have an individual event she can take part in at the London Games.

"I'm going to have to start again in an event that I haven't competed in before and be an unknown again," she said. "It'll be difficult, but I know that I've done it before and you've just got to work with it, that's life."

© 2009 AFP

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