Olympic track cycling events, there’s plenty of ’em. From Sprint to Team Pursuit each track cycling discipline has its own rules and peculiarities that make it different from all the rest, and don’t get us started on the weirdly named ones like Keirin or Omnium. Most people wouldn’t even know what an Omnium was if it ran them over. Or even if it could run them over. So if you’re head scratching about the upcoming Olympic track cycling events, put those shampoo scented finger tips down and take a gander at Mpora’s guide to track cycling in Rio 2016.
What is it?
Head to head, single bike racing.
What are the rules?
Two cyclists face off against each other with a staggered rolling start, completing a warm up lap around the track before breaking into a sprint for the finish. The first cyclist past the line wins the race with the best of three races deciding the medal winner.
During the warm up lap cyclists can ride anywhere on the track but once the sprint has begun they can not change lanes unless they have a clear lead over their opponent.
During the warm up lap, riders are also allowed to perform a track stand, coming to a complete stop on the track while keeping their feet on the bike. This is a common tactic used to prevent the rider behind getting any aerodynamic advantage from the lead rider’s slipstream, which makes it easier to cycle, saving energy for the final sprint. Track stands can only be held for a short period of time though and you can not rock backwards and forwards while doing one.
Who’s won in the past?
Jason Kenny took gold for Great Britain in 2012, while Anna Meares won the women’s event for Australia.
Who’s competing for Team GB in Rio?
Though team GB track cycle athletes aren’t confirmed yet, expect to see Jason Kenny back in the riding seat and, with Victoria Pendelton switching from bikes to thoroughbreds, Becky James or Katie Marchant are in with a good chance for the women’s event.
Update: Becky James, Katie Marchant, Jessica Varnish and Jason Kenny have all now been confirmed for the Sprint.