TRACK CYCLING is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes (but many events are held at older velodromes where the track banking is relatively shallow) using track bicycles .
* 1 History * 2 Main centres
* 3 Race formats
* 3.1 Sprint * 3.2 Endurance
* 4 Major competitive events
* 5 Riding position * 6 Track records * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
An outdoor track race in Paris in 1908 featuring Marshall Taylor , the first African-American cyclist to become world champion
One appeal of indoor track racing was that spectators could be easily controlled, and hence an entrance fee could be charged, making track racing a lucrative sport. Early track races attracted crowds of up to 2000 people. Indoor tracks also enabled year-round cycling for the first time. The main early centers for track racing in Britain were Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and London.
The most noticeable changes in over a century of track cycling have concerned the bikes themselves, engineered to be lighter and more aerodynamic to enable ever-faster times.
Play media Indoor cycling at the Sportpaleis Alkmaar , Netherlands
Sprint races are generally between 8 and 10 laps in length and focus on raw sprinting power and race tactics over a small number of laps to defeat opponents. Sprint riders will train specifically to compete in races of this length and will not compete in longer endurance races.
The main sprint events are:
Endurance races are held over much longer distances. While these primarily test the riders endurance abilities, the ability to sprint effectively is also required in the Madison, points race and scratch race. The length of these races varies from 12–16 laps for the individual and team pursuit races, up to 120 laps for a full length Madison race in World Championships or Olympic Games.
The main endurance events are:
MAJOR COMPETITIVE EVENTS
Held every four years as part of the Summer Olympics . There are
currently 10 events in the Olympics, fewer than appear in the World
Championships. At the
2008 Summer Olympics
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships are held every year, usually in March or April at the end of the winter track season. There are currently 19 events in the World Championships, 10 for men and 9 for women. Qualification places are determined by different countries performance during the World Cup Classic series held through the season.
The UCI Track Cycling World Cup series consists of four or five meetings, held in different countries throughout the world during the winter track cycling season. These meeting include 17 of the 19 events (excluding the omnium for men and women) that take place in a World Championship over three days.
Events won and points scored by the riders throughout this series count towards qualification places individually and for their nation in the World Championships at the end of the season. The overall leader in each event wears the white points leaders jersey at each race, with the overall winner at the end of the season keeping the jersey and wearing it at the World Championships. Riders compete for either national teams or trade teams.
As World Championship qualification is at stake, the events attract a top field of riders. However, it is common for top riders not to compete at all the events of the series, with teams often using the events to field younger riders or attempt different line-ups at some events. Top riders can still win the series, or obtain good a placing for qualification points for their country, without competing at every event.
The UCI Track Cycling World Ranking is based upon the results in all women's UCI -sanctioned races over a twelve-month period. The ranking includes an individual and a nations ranking and includes the disciplines: individual pursuit , points race , scratch , sprint , time trial , keirin , omnium (since 2010-11), team pursuit , team sprint and madison (men only).
Several countries run a series of national level events held as part of series throughout each of those countries and sometimes across country borders. Examples of these are the Revolution track series held in both the UK and Australia, and the ATRA NCS series in the United States.
Aerodynamic drag is a significant factor in both road and track racing. Frames are often constructed of moulded carbon fiber , for a lightweight design. More recently, track (and road) bikes have employed airfoil designs on the tubes of the frame to reduce aerodynamic drag.
On a dedicated track bicycle there are few components, with no need for brakes or derailleurs (and therefore shifters). In fact the only moving part on a bicycle is the drivetrain, which includes the cranks, pedals , the single chainring , one cog fixed to the hub without a freewheel mechanism and the chain itself. Because of this the need for aerodynamic components is minimised, and the aerodynamics to weight ratio makes aerodynamic componentry, at present, an idea with more cons than pros.
Given the importance of aerodynamics, the riders' sitting position
becomes extremely important. The riding position is similar to the
road racing position, but is ultimately dependent on the frame
geometry of the bicycle and the handlebars used. Handlebars on track
bikes used for longer events such as the points race are similar to
the drop bars found on road bicycles. However, in the sprint event the
rider's position is more extreme compared with a road rider. The bars
are lower and the saddle is higher and more forward. Bars are often
narrower with a deeper drop.
In timed events such as the pursuit and the time trial , riders often use aerobars or 'triathlon bars' similar to those found on road time trial bicycles, allowing the rider to position the arms closer together in front of the body. This results in a more horizontal back and presents the minimum frontal area to reduce drag. Aerobars can be separate bars that are attached to time trial or bull horn bars, or they can be part of a one-piece monocoque design. Use of aerobars is permitted only in pursuit and time trial events.
Formats of track cycle races are also heavily influenced by aerodynamics. If one rider closely follows, they draft or slipstream another, because the leading rider pushes air around themselves; any rider closely following has to push out less air than the lead rider and thus can travel at the same speed while expending less effort. This fact has led to a variety of racing styles that allow skilled riders or teams to exploit this tactical advantage, as well as formats that simply test strength, speed and endurance.
During the early 1990s in individual pursuit events, some riders,
Graeme Obree , adopted a straight-armed
In addition to regular track racing, tracks are also the venue for many cycling records. These are over either a fixed distance or for a fixed period of time. The most famous of these is the hour record , which involves simply riding as far as possible in one hour.
The history of the hour record is replete with exploits by some of
the greatest names in cycling from both road and track racing
(including, among others,
Major Taylor ,
Henri Desgrange , Fausto
Jacques Anquetil ,
More recently, attempts have moved to high-altitude locations, such