Europe’s best indoor cyclists in our country

Unfortunately, indoor cycling is still an unfamiliar concept for many people, even though cycling matches were held in Hungary as early as the late 1800s.

At the end of January, the Secretary General of the European Cycling Union (UEC), Enrico Della Casa, personally brought the contract for the 2022 European Indoor Cycling Championships to Hungary. An interview with Zolt Törzsök, Vice President of the Hungarian Cycling Federation, was conducted by Radio Europe, with the support of Radio Europe, about the European Championships in Nyíregyháza, its importance and of course about the indoor cycling disciplines themselves.

What does it mean for the association that our country will host the 2022 European Indoor Cycling Championships?

- This is a huge opportunity for us. It's worth knowing that both cyclocross and artistic cycling are traditional disciplines, since international indoor cycling events were organised before the International Cycling Union (UCI) was founded in the 1900s. It is fantastic that Hungary will host the European Championships in 2022, which is understandably a major sporting diplomatic success.

Why did you choose Nyíregyháza as the venue?

- We needed to find a sports hall that could stand up to international competition, and the Nyíregyháza complex is up to the mark. The governing body of the sport sets high standards for the venue, from the size of the arena, the capacity, the lighting, not to mention the condition of the flooring and the infrastructure, and the capital of the county of Sablos meets all the requirements.

Europe's best artistic cyclists and the strongest national cycling teams will compete next year in Hungary. What do you need to know about these events?

- Artistic cycling is a series of exercises performed in a predefined concentric circle, similar to floor exercise, which requires a high level of endurance and effort and must be completed within five minutes. The international governing body of the discipline has a substantial body of documentation which defines the various static and acrobatic elements and the balancing exercises on the handlebars and saddle. As in gymnastics or figure skating, the difficulty of the segments is represented by different point values.

Bicycle polo is much simpler than this, with two teams of two or more people playing on a small track. The main objective is obviously to get the ball into the goal, which requires the use of the bicycle, although the ball can also touch the surface of the body and the goalkeeper can use his hands to defend, but the shots are taken with the wheel of the bicycle. The rules are broadly similar to those of football.

How well known are these disciplines in this country at the moment?

- I would say that the level of awareness is average, but the problem is that the perception of cycling itself in the country is not as high as in Western countries. Of course, the domestic administration is trying to make cycling more popular and accepted, and this is exactly the reason why we are trying to bring more and more world events to Hungary. Unfortunately, it is also important to know that in our country these disciplines were dormant from the 1930s until the 1990s, when they were re-established. Despite all this, this is not reflected in our recent results: we have two fourth places in the world championships in artistic cycling, but we have also won bronze medals at the European Championships.

What are your longer-term goals?

- We have no secret goal of striving for a kind of continuity if we are successful, so that we have the chance to host world events in the coming years - we plan to bid for the adult continental in 2023 and the junior European Championships a year later, with the long-term vision of bringing the world championships to our country.

How can these events promote indoor cycling in this country?

- Of course, we have set this as a fundamental objective, although obviously it is much more complicated in reality, as the infrastructure for the disciplines is not yet fully developed in this country, although we hope that this may change in the future. I would definitely like to touch children who want to play sport, who have a good sense and show the talent to become indoor cyclists in time.