Omnium 2: Track cycling video event guide

Presented by Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman

Welcome to Part 2 of BikeRadar’s guide to the omnium, one of the six events that will be raced on the velodrome at the London 2012 Olympics. You can see Part 1 of the omnium guide here.


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 2 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 final three events:

  • 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 first three events are covered in Part 1 of this guide and are as follows:

  • 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 individual pursuit in the omnium:
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The individual pursuit is no longer an event in itself but lives on in the Omnium

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 scratch race sees all riders compete together in 16km (men’s) and 10km (women’s) races:
AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill

The scratch race sees all riders compete together in 16km (men’s) and 10km (women’s) races

Omnium in the Olympics

The omnium will make its Olympic debut in London and its inclusion has been controversial. Out has gone 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. 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 time trial:
AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill

Women race two laps of the track during the omnium time trial, with men racing twice the distance