Track Racing has grown in popularity following the success of Team GB in the Olympics and World Championships.
Track racing takes place on short specially built tracks consisting of two tight, banked corners joined by two short straights. Tracks range hugely in length - outdoor tracks usually being longer and with shallower banks - but Olympic and World Championship Track racing is generally held on indoor 250m wooden tracks. Many outdoor tracks are concrete or tarmac surfaced.
Track bikes are relatively simple, lacking the gears and brakes of their road cousins. With bikes having a fixed wheel (forcing you to pedal continuously) the rider controls speed through pressure applied to the pedals. Bikes fall into two broad categories:
> Upright bikes with conventional dropped handlebars, traditional spoked or carbon spoked wheels. These bikes are used for bunch races, Keirin and Match Sprint.
> Low-profile bikes, with extended 'trathalon' style bars, allowing the rider to adopt a more aerodynamic position. Wheels are often four-spoked carbon or carbon disc. Handling and manoeuvrability are sacrificed for aerodynamic efficiency. These bikes are used for pursuit races and Kilo and 500m time trial.
Men race in teams of four over 4000m and women in teams of three over 3000m. The major difference to the individual version is that the riders share the workload, with the lead rider staying at the front for only a lap or so before swinging up the track (right) and re-joining the three or four rider line at the back. A technical event, team-mates often ride only centimetres apart to maximise slipstreaming effects. In the men's event, times are taken on the third rider of the team to cross the line: the slowest rider in a team often sacrifices himself in later stages of the event and pulls up the track to let his team-mates complete the race without him.
A discipline where riders compete over a series of races to find the best all-round/most consistent rider. Points are awarded so that the winner of each individual event scores one point, second scores two, third scores three, etc. The rider with the lowest aggregate score at the end of the competition is the winner. A relatively new event at World Championship level, it makes its debut at the Olympics in London 2012. The event is typically made up of the following: 200m Time Trial; Scratch Race; Individual Pursuit; Points Race; Kilo (or 500m Time Trial in the women's event). The event is normally contested over a single day.