60 years of women's track cycling at the UCI World Championships
The 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot marks 60 years since the addition of women to the track programme in 1958. It was last year, in Hong Kong, that women finally achieved parity with men for the number of world titles awarded, at ten each.
The 1958 UCI World Championships took place in Paris, France, with the women competing in two events - the sprint and the individual pursuit. Riders from the former Soviet Union won both titles, with Galina Ermolaeva winning the sprint and Lyudmila Koch the individual pursuit. The Soviet Union and Great Britain took all the medals that first year, winning three each. Ermolaeva dominated the sprint in the early years, winning five of the first six world titles for women, then again in 1972. In the individual pursuit, Great Britain's legendary road and track rider Beryl Burton was just as dominant, with five titles between 1959 and 1966.
Until 1988, the women continued to contest only the sprint and individual pursuit. The sprint was replaced by the points race in 1988, and from 1989 to 1991, women raced all three: sprint, individual pursuit and points race. 1992 saw them drop to just the points race for one year, before returning to the three events the next year.
The next increase in events was in 1995, when the 500m time trial was added to the programme, and it stayed that way until 2002 in Copenhagen, Denmark, when the women's programme jumped to six events with the addition of the Keirin and the Scratch Race. At that time, the men had nine medal events.
It took five more years to add the team sprint for women, bringing the total number of events to seven (compared to ten for men), but a year later the women also added the team pursuit, and the year after (2009) the Omnium, leaving the only difference the Madison, which finally became part of the women's UCI World Championship programme last year in Hong Kong. The Madison will also feature at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.