In the following video, we've teamed up with 1992 Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, who explains the nature of the omnium and how it's won.
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Video: Omnium- track cycling event guide Part 1 presented by Chris Boardman
What is the omnium?
The omnium is the ultimate test of a track cyclist’s all-round ability, consisting of six events which test both sprinting and endurance. The video above features the discipline's first three events:
- Flying lap: a one-lap race against the clock
- Points race (30km for men, 20km for women): riders score points for sprints which occur every 10 laps (2.5km), and for lapping the field.
- Elimination Race: a bunch race with an intermediate sprint every two laps, with the last rider of each sprint eliminated.
The remaining three events are covered in Part 2 and are as follows:
- Individual pursuit (4,000m for men, 3,000m for women): two riders start at opposite sides of the track and race against the clock over 16 laps (12 for women)
- Scratch race (16km for men, 10km for women): All riders start from the same point on the track with the winner being the first to cross the line
- Time trial (1km for men, 500m for women): Each competitor rides the four or two lap course aiming for the fastest time
The points race sees all the riders take to the track at the same time
Rules of the omnium
In each event the winner gets one point, the second placed rider gets two points, the third three points, and so on. At the end of all six events the rider with the lowest total score is the winner.
The flying lap is the omnium's first event - one, single solo lap round the track
Omnium in the Olympics
The omnium will make its Olympic debut in London and its inclusion has been controversial. It has meant that the men's and women's individual pursuit - Bradley Wiggins' favoured event - as well as the men's and women's points race, and men's Madison have all been axed as individual events. Team sprint, team pursuit and keirin have been added to the women's schedule, in a bid to have a more equal spread for both sexes, with the omnium new for men and women.
The Elimination Race