Track cycling video guide with Chris Boardman

Get up to speed for the track cycling world cup in Glasgow

The second round of the 2012-2013 Track Cycling World Cup starts today in the brand new Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow, Scotland.

If you're new to track cycling and are planning on watching the action over the next three days, then this video guide is for you. We've teamed up with 1992 Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman to show you how the events work, from the individual match sprint and keirin to the team pursuit and multi-event omnium. There's also an overview of a track bike and how it differs from a road bike.

Match Sprint

The match sprint is usually raced between two riders, although it's possible for up to four to race at once. It's typically run over three laps of the track, the winner being the first rider across the line.

Because of the demands of the event, it's usually a slow tactical affair until the final lap, with each rider trying to manoeuvre the other into a disadvantageous position. On the final lap, both riders wind it up and the speed over the last 200m nearly always decides the winner. The event demands explosive power over 10 seconds, which is why sprinters are the biggest and strongest riders in cycling. Click here for more on the match sprint.

Match sprint

Team pursuit

The team pursuit pits two teams of up to four cyclists compete against each other over 16 laps of the track, or 4000m. The women’s event is 12 laps, or 3000m, in teams of three. Teams start on opposite sides of the track with the aim to either set the fastest  time or catch and overtake the opposition. More on the team pursuit can be found here.

Team pursuit


The omnium is the ultimate test of a track cyclist’s all-round ability, consisting of six events which test both sprinting and endurance.

  • 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
  • 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

Click here for more on the omnium.



Both men’s and women’s keirin is conducted over eight laps of the track. The riders are paced by a motor pacer, or derny, until around 600 metres from the finish, at which point the pacer pulls off and the riders sprint for the finish.

Riders line up on the start line with their positions drawn by lots. The pacer approaches on the inside lane at 30km/h (25km/h for the women’s race) and the riders join behind. The bike reaches a maximum of 50km/h (45km/h women) before pulling off the track with 2 ½ laps remaining. The first rider to cross the finish line is declared the winner. The keirin is explained in more depth here.


What is a track bike?

Riders race on track bikes on the velodrome. These look like road bikes but don't have brakes or gears. They're built with a different frame geometry to better suit the handling requirements on the track. The following video explains the various parts of a track bike.

Track bike

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