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Is a new fan-friendly track cycling event stolen goods?

Teamtrak and Speedtrak are competing track cycling leagues that pit teams against one another. They are hoping to bring North American audiences out to velodromes.

A new track cycling event debuting this weekend in California is stolen goods says a former U.S. Olympian John Vande Velde. The former Olympic track cyclist, U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame inductee and father of retired pro Christian Vande Velde believes his former olympic teammate David Chauner has stolen a game John says he invented in 1995. “I don’t want to talk badly about my competition, but he’s a thief,” said Vande Velde at the Milton track during a Speedtrak test event on Feb. 23. “It’s my game.”

Vande Velde’s Speedtrak and Chauner’s Teamtrak are renewed efforts to create a fan-friendly track cycling league that would pit cities, states, provinces, colleges, countries and professional teams against one another. “What’s missing in cycling is a home team and you need a home team to cheer for,” said Vande Velde. He suggests that North American audiences, who are accustomed to spectator friendly professional sports such as hockey and football, will be drawn to velodromes by the introduction of competitive local teams to track cycling.

Vande Velde and Chauner rode together at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City in 1968 and Munich in 1972. In 1995, Vande Velde held five games on what he called the “Vandedrome,” which he took around the U.S. to showcase. The idea came to him after returning disenchanted from riding the six-day event circuit in Europe. Two years ago, Chauner invited Vande Velde to join forces to try and start the World Cycling League in Pittsburgh. They were unsuccessful at selling the league and parted ways to begin their own projects.

Both Speedtrak and Teamtrak events feature 12 daily races with men and women on the same team. Four teams go head to head in Speedtrak while six compete in Teamtrak. In Speedtrak, the first five players across the line in every race score points. At the end of the day, the team with the most points wins the event.

Vande Velde wants the world to know he invented the game. “It’s my game; I invented it,”he said. Eight years ago, when he revisited his original idea, he invented the rules, regulations and now has a patent on it. At the trial event in Milton, Vande Velde said, “I finally found a home here in Milton and I am very thankful to Cycling Canada, to Steve Bauer, to help me.”

Vande Velde plans to host three Speedtrak games at the Milton velodrome in September and eventually start the International Speedtrak League. The WCL will premiere Teamtrak on March 18 and 19 at the Velo Sports Center in Carson, Calif.