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U.S.-based World Cycling League on track for 2015 debut

Two-time Olympic track cyclist John Vande Velde is part of a development team putting together a new track cycling league at a soon-to-be-completed velodrome in Pittsburgh.

The World Cycling League (WCL) will begin competition in late 2015, according to a press release. The venue, called Island 200, will be the first permanent 200-meter indoor velodrome in the United States.

Once construction is complete this summer, organizers will immediately begin testing the facility.

“Part of the process of developing a velodrome is creating consistent programming that will build and sustain fan interest,” said Robert Gottlieb, WCL president and the developer of Island 200. “That means selling cycling to a new audience using leading edge techniques like on-board video cameras, live-streaming rider data, an easy to follow point system, season long team competition and heart-pounding sound and lighting.”

Racing will start with one conference, USA East, comprised of four teams of 11 players (six men, three women, and two substitutes). There will be 12, three-day meets during the season, which will run from October to March.

Meets will consist of 12 men’s and women’s races per day, ranging from sprints to two-player Madison races, and teams will score points based on how they finish. The WCL will employ the Speedtrak Cycling racing format.

The first half of the season will feature the four USA East squads; the second half will pit USA All-Stars against international athletes.

Vande Velde, who formerly owned and operated the Vandedrome portable track used at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, helped develop the league’s race program. Speedtrak Cycling was first tested at those Games.

“We have assembled an outstanding team to drive WCL,” said league CEO David Chauner, a former Olympic cyclist and member of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. “Gottlieb’s $15 million investment to build a state-of-the art velodrome has removed the biggest hurdle in launching the League and, with 18 months to plan, gives us the right amount of time to obtain financing, test systems, line up talent and secure sponsors for the pilot event and subsequent roll out in 2015.”