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In a sprint, the qualifying rounds consist of competitors covering 1,000 meters whereby only the final 200 meters are timed. The fastest qualifier will then sprint against the slowest qualifier, second fastest against second slowest, etc.

At the beginning of the race riders pedal slowly, carefully watching one another waiting for an opening to strike. The race demands more tactical skill than any other cycling event. Competitors progress through a series of heats, consisting of 1 to 3 rounds, leading to a final head-to-head confrontation between the top two riders for first place.

The Keirin is based on the famous Keirin cycle racing which is one of the biggest betting sports in Japan. Contested over eight laps, the field of three to seven riders follows the Derny motor bike at an increasing pace until two and a half laps to go. The riders jostle for position behind the motorbike to gain the desired position, depending on where their biggest rivals are.
As the motor bike pulls off the track with two and a half laps to go, the battle begins to win the sprint. The stronger riders will launch their effort early whilst others will follow well into the last lap hoping that they are behind the right wheel allowing them to propel themselves to the line and victory at the last possible moment. The riders will be flat out at speeds around 70 km/h.

Dubbed “killermeter”, the cyclist races alone against the clock from a standing start. A maximum effort, all out effort is required. The rider with the fastest time wins.

The 500 meters is the women’s equivalent to the men’s kilo; the cyclist races alone against the clock from a standing start and the rider with the fastest time wins.

Two riders begin pedaling from a standing start on opposite sides of the track, “pursuing” one another until the distance is completed; 4 km for elite men, 3 km for elite women and junior men, 2 km for junior women. The four fastest cyclists in the qualifying round will move on to race for medals. The first two fastest times will race against each other for gold and silver, then the third and fourth fastest cyclists will race for the bronze. If a one rider overtakes another in the finals, then the race is stopped and the winner is declared.

The rules in team pursuit are the same as in individual pursuit except that teams of four riders for men, and 3 riders for women, compete against one another. The time of each team’s second to last rider is used to determine placing. The team pursuit event calls for precision teamwork each rider takes a turn in the lead breaking the wind before swinging up to the top of the banked track and dropping down to the tail of the team for a brief rest.

The points race is contested over a distance of 25km for women and 40km for men superbly demonstrating the glittering spectacle and tactics of track racing.

With sprints every ten laps, the pace of the race varies as each sprint approaches. The complete points race rider must have the flexibility to adapt to the increases in speed and changes of tactic as the race develops. With 5, 3, 2 and 1 point/s awarded to the first four riders in each sprint, the last two laps before each sprint are highly animated as each rider tries to find the best position to make his or her effort.
Despite the points amassed in the sprints, a rider can win 20 points if he manages to lap the field. Riders will attack individually or in small groups to try to gain the decisive lap. Watch the main field battle to resist a small group gaining a lap. The final result will be decided by total points gained.

This race is contested by teams of two riders showing bike handling skills at their best. One rider has to be in the race at all times. The other team member takes a short rest circling at the top of the track before he rejoins the race with his team mate throwing him into the action with a hand sling. As with the points race there are sprints, in this case every 20 laps and the teams will also be trying to gain a lap on their opponents in this high speed race. The final is over the distance of 50km.
The skills of the riders are vitally important as the bunch reach speeds well over 50 km/h with riders throwing their partners into the fray at key times of the race aiming to win the sprint points or gain a decisive lap on their competitors.

This is the simplest race in the championships. It’s a bunched race event over a distance of 10km for women and 15km for men and the first across the finish line wins the gold medal. The action is non stop with riders trying to break away from the main field and their adversaries organising the chase behind. There’s no room for hesitation in this high speed cat and mouse race.

The teams are comprised of three riders for men, 2 for women, and each teammate must lead the team on one lap before dropping out of the race. The winning team is the one who completes the distance fastest.

The men’s Omnium is the pentathlon of track cycling. Each competitor must ride in five events – 200m flying time trial; 7.5km scratch race; 3km individual pursuit; 15km points race and 1km time trial. In this competition, points are awarded in reverse order. The winning rider of each event gets one point and the rider with the lowest number of points overall is the winner. If there is a tie on points, the judges look back at the timed events to determine who wins. You’ve got to be good at sprinting, time-trialing and bunched racing in this tough race series.
The women’s Omnium uses the same rules as the men’s Omnium with different distances except for the 200m flying time trial – a 5km scratch race; a 2km individual pursuit; a 10km points race and a 500m time trial.


The Olympic track events at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games were:

– Individual Pursuit Men and Women
– Sprint indivual Men and Women
– Points Race Men and Women
– Keirin Men
– Madison Men
– Olympic Sprint Men
– Team Pursuit Men

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