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Cycling – Track

Cycling – Track

Track cycling, which is contested in a velodrome, has been featured in every Olympic Games except Stockholm 1912 when the only velodrome in Stockholm was torn down to make way for the new Olympic Stadium.  Women’s track events were only added to the Olympic program in Seoul 1988 with the debut of the individual sprint.  For London 2012, the track cycling program was changed to make the discipline gender equal and more entertaining for spectators. It featured 10 events, five each for men and women.


Keirin - Men and Women

This is one of the most exciting events in cycling because of the speeds its competitors reach. The event is a 2,000m paced event in which the cyclists ride behind a motorized derny, which sets the pace and gradually accelerates. The derny paces the riders for 1,400m and then pulls off the track, at which time the cyclists – up to seven of them – begin a furious sprint to the finish.

Omnium - Men

The Omnium features individual riders who competed against each other across six different disciplines on the track. Points in each discipline were awarded according to position: the winner got one point, the second-placed finisher scored two, and so on. After all six disciplines, the rider with the fewest points won the gold.

Sprint - Men and Women

All riders must first go through a qualifying round and obtain the best possible time over a 1,000m distance in which only the last 200m stretch is timed. The top-18 riders qualify for the elimination round. An elimination race is contested by two riders racing over a distance of three laps. In sprint, cyclists race in only one heat in the first two elimination rounds, while from the quarter-finals onward, each elimination round consists of the best two out of three races.

Team Pursuit - Men and Women

This event has two rounds. A pursuit team of four riders race over 16 laps for men and three riders race over 12 laps for women. Results are based on the third team rider to reach the finish line. Each team changes its lead rider every lap or half-lap to share the effort of leading.

Team Sprint - Men and Women

Each men's team consists of three riders while each women's team is two riders. Two teams compete against each other starting on opposite sides of the track, with the goal being to catch the other team or finish three laps of the track (two laps for women) with the best time. Each rider leads his or her team for a single lap and then leaves the track. The time for the final rider to finish the third lap (second lap for women) is the time for the team. This event has a qualifying and a final round, in which the top two teams compete for gold.

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