The Team Pursuit
The Team Pursuit is an endurance track event that is similar to a Team Time Trial. The men’s team ride a distance of 4000m around the track with a team of 4 whilst the women ride 3000m with a team of 3. Two teams compete against each other starting at opposite ends of the track. The time of the lap is determined when the 3rd rider crosses the finish line.
The winner of the pursuit is determined by 2 ways, either one team catches another or the team records the fastest time at the end of the race. A team is determined as caught when the opposing team (or three out of the four in the men’s race) comes within 1m of the other team.
Riders take turns riding in the front, generally switching every ½ a lap, however, stronger riders may sometimes take a full lap turn if required. As this is an endurance race, keeping a good pace is very important. Teams that start out at an extremely fast pace at the beginning can burn out in the last 1000m if they are not fit enough to maintain their speed for the full duration.
Riders will follow behind each other very closely (within a few cm) to benefit from drafting and this in itself can be dangerous as any wheel touches can result in an entire team crashing out.
The Team Pursuit will start out with qualifying rounds, the fastest times will go through to Round 1 where the winners of the 2 heats between the top 4 teams will advance to the gold medal rounds and the remaining 6 teams, ranked on their finishing times, will proceed to the bronze medal competition.
Although this event is known as an endurance event, it is by no means slow. Riders can reach speeds up to 60kph and when you are going that fast even the smallest rider error can affect the entire team and the result.
The Keirin is an individual sprinting event where 6-9 riders follow a motorised bike known as a derny.
The derny starts the riders at 30kph for the men and 25kph for the ladies. The riders positions for the start line are based on a draw and the rider drawn on the inside lane is the first positioned behind the derny.
The derny increases the speed as the laps progress reaching a maximum speed on 50kph by 5 and a half laps. At the end of 5 and a half laps the derny drops off the course and the riders are then left to sprint for the finish. The first rider to cross the line first after 8 laps wins.
Each event begins with heats taking the field down to twelve riders, which will progress to the semi-final. The top three riders from each semi-final will move on to the final, whilst the losing six race for positions seven through twelve.
The Keirin is a one day event, so riders must be fit to maintain numerous rounds to make it to the final. Like any track event it isn’t without drama as again having that many riders on the track at once all vying for a sprint position can result in high speed crashes.