Ninh explains, the Rules of Track Cycling
The object of the game is to cycle faster than your opponents.
Track Cycling, sometimes referred to as ‘Olympic Track Cycling’, is contested indoors, on
a curved banked track that measures 250m long, otherwise known as a Velodrome.
In general, the rider who crosses the finish line first, wins.
Shortest video ever, right? Well, sadly not. Rather confusingly, track
cycling has many different events, each with significantly different rules to each other.
I‘m not going to cover every single event in this video, but the most popular events
are: Individual Time Trial
This is the simplest event to understand, as it’s purely a race against the clock.
The distance is 1km for men and for 500m for women.
You’re out there on your own and the fastest rider across the finish line from a standing
start, wins.>A flying time trial allows you to build
up speed before they start the clock, and only the last 200m is timed. Fastest over
200m is the winner. Individual Pursuit.
It’s very similar to the time trial, except that now – you’re racing against someone.
Individual riders start from opposite ends of the track.
When the starting gun goes off, they have to race 4km for men and 3km for women.
First person to cross the line wins The fastest four winners will ride off against
each other until there is only one winner. Team Pursuit
Four riders will ride for 4 km against another team.
Each team starts from opposite ends of the track.
The team that catches the other team, or that records the fastest time over 4km, wins.
In Team Pursuit, there is a catch – at least three riders must finish the race and the
time is taken from the third rider’s front wheel crossing the line.
Individual Sprint The ultimate game of cat-and-mouse. The distance
is just 750m or 3 laps of an Olympic track. Riders start next to each other and both will
try and use tactics to either make the opponent go first, or to push the rider in an unfavourable
position, before making a run for the line themselves.
The time you take to do these three laps does not matter.
All that matters is you must cross the finish line before your opponent.
The rider who wins 2 out of 3 races, wins the individual sprint.
Team Sprint. Teams start at opposite ends of the track
and consist of 3 riders over 3 laps for men, 2 riders over 2 laps for women
The first rider sets the pace, and after 1 lap, must peel away from the pack.
The next rider (for men) also has a lap before they must also ride away.
The last rider then has to sprint the final lap to the finish line on their own.
The teams with the two best times, ride off to be crowned the winner, and there are also
contests for 3rd & 4th place. Keirin
Possibly the strangest event in Track cycling is the Keirin.
Developed in Japan as a means of gambling, it consists of up to 7 riders over 8 laps
of the track. Except that 5 ½ of those laps consists of
following a motorised bicycle, known as a derny.
Riders must stay behind the derny as it increases in speed – and they will try to jostle each
other out of position to get an advantage over their rivals
Once the derny pulls away from the track, it’s a free-for-all sprint for the last
2.5 laps. First person to cross the finish line after
all 8 laps, wins. Elimination Race
24 riders start at the same time over a race of 50 laps.
The rules are simple – don’t be last. Because in every two laps, whoever is the
last to cross the start line is eliminated. This carries on until there is only one winner. Scratch Race
A mid distance event that is 15km for Men, and 10km for Women.
The rules are simple – be the first across the finish line.
Endurance riders will try and outpace sprinters, and sprinters will try an d hide in the main
pack to conserve energy before making a final run.
How you play it is up to you … so long as you cross the line first.
Points Race Think of this as NASCAR racing … on bicycles.
A long distance event that is 40km for Men, and 25km for Women.
A sprint is held every 10 laps, signalled by a bell.
Points are awarded to the first four across the line for each sprint and points are double
during the last sprint of the race. Riders can also earn 20 points for lapping
the field. Most points at the end of the race, wins.
Madison Put simply – it’s a points race but with
teams of two riders. Only one rider can race at a time, so riders
must touch or tag their partner for them to be eligible to race. You’ll see them slinging
each other to give each other a boost. The race is 50km for men, and 30km for women.
The team with the most points at the end of the race, wins.
Omnium This is the decathlon of cycling events, and
is comprised of the following 4 or 6 races. You get points depending on the position you
finish at each race, and the rider with the most amount of points after 4 or 6 events
is the winner of the Omnium. Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes, there’s a few other things you’ll need to know before riding or watching track
cycling. For example: Lines
There are lines that go around the perimeter of the track and they all mean different things. The cote d’azur is the start of the velodrome.
This light blue strip is for entering and exiting the track only. The black line – also known as the datum line
– and denotes the shortest length of the track; 250-metres for an Olympic facility.
Riders will try to stay glued to the black line as this is the shortest and fastest way
around the track. The red line is also known as the sprinter’s
line. If a rider is in the channel betwen black and red lines, the opponent must come
around the red line and can only cross their path once the overtake is complete. You cannot
use this lane to overtake other riders. The blue line – also known as the stayer’s
line – is for use in Madison races. The resting riders will circulate above the blue until
they are tagged back into action. False Start.
If you start before the starting gun goes off, the gun will fire a second time to indicate
that you have started early. This is known as a false start. If you commit two false
starts, you are disqualified from the contest. Slip Streaming and Drafting
During the team events, you’ll see riders follow each other very closely.
And sometimes, you’ll see riders intentionally move from the front, to the back – but why?
Due to aerodynamics, cycling in a pack expends less energy than cycling alone, especially
if you’re at the back. Team will usually share the workload and swap places during
a race to conserve energy and be in the best position to sprint for the line.
That’s a lot to take in, but once you’ve watched cycling for a while, the rules will
become clear. If you have found this video at all helpful,
please be sure to like share and subscribe. It takes me ages to make one of these things
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but in the meantime – enjoy Olympic Track Cycling. Ninh Ly – www.ninh.co.uk – @NinhLyUK