Ten things you didn't know about Track Cycling

Submitted by admin on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 16:38
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Matthew Glaetzer of Australia and Mateusz Rudyk of Poland compete in the Men's sprint bronze medal race race on day five of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships held in the BGZ BNP Paribas Velodrome Arena on March 03 2019 in Pruszkow, Poland. (Getty)
Article Introduction

With Australia's Olympic Track Cyclists just announced for Tokyo 2020, get up to speed on what goes down at the track.

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What is Track Cycling?  

Track cycling is a racing sport, where cyclists race around an oval-shaped track made of wooden boards, with a lap length of 250m. The sides of the track are banked, to allow athletes to travel at very fast speeds of up to 80km/hr. Track cycling is a spectator friendly sport and has gained its popularity from as early as the 1870s.  

The track events at Tokyo 2020 will be held at the Izu Velodrome. 

When did Track Cycling make its debut at an Olympic Games? 

Track Cycling events have been on the Olympic program at all editions of the Olympic Games since 1896, except for the 1912 Games in Stockholm. The Australian men made their debut at the 1920 Games, while women's track events were introduced in Seoul in 1988 where Australia participated.  


How many events are in Track Cycling? 

There are six events in track cycling, with both men and women competing in all six. Each of the track cycling events fall under two broad categories, sprint and endurance.  

The six events that will feature at Tokyo 2020 are Team Sprint, Sprint, Keirin, Team Pursuit, Omnium, and Madison.  

How many Olympic medals has Australia won in Track Cycling?  

Australia has won a total of 46 medals in track cycling; 12 Gold, 17 Silver and 17 Bronze 

Who is Australia’s most successful Track Cyclist? 

Australia’s most successful track cyclist is Anna Meares, with six Olympic medals including two Gold. Brad McGee is the most successful male with five medals. 


Do the athletes have to wear specific clothing?  

To be aerodynamic, track cyclists wear lycra suits which hug the riders like a second skin. Interestingly, there are also strict regulations on the length of socks a track cyclist can wear in competition. Socks and overshoes are not permitted to be any longer than the middle of a cyclist's shin.  

Why don’t track cycle bikes have brakes? 

Riders often ride in close formation at high speed, and to brake in such a situation would cause a crash. Track bicycles also have fixed gears, so speed is slowly reduced by pushing backwards on the pedals.

What are track cycling bikes made of? 

Track cycling bikes are made of carbon fibre and resemble stripped down road bikes. Track bicycles must also exceed the minimum weight of 6.8kg.  


Which country is the most successful in track cycling?  

Australia is the third most successful nation in Track Cycling, behind Great Britain and France.  

Did you know? 

Track cycling is one of five cycling disciplines at the Toyko Olympic Games. Tokyo 2020 will feature Track, Road, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle, Park and Mountain Bike.

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