Olympic track cycling: Getting to know the Keirin and Sprint

·2-min read
TOPSHOT - Britain's Matthew Walls (L) and Belgium's Kenny de Ketele compete in the men's track cycling omnium points race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Velodrome in Izu, Japan, on August 5, 2021. / AFP / Peter PARKS
TOPSHOT - Britain's Matthew Walls (L) and Belgium's Kenny de Ketele compete in the men's track cycling omnium points race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Velodrome in Izu, Japan, on August 5, 2021. / AFP / Peter PARKS

The Tokyo Olympics track cycling competition will be held in the Izu Velodrome from 2 to 8 August. Inside the venue, the tracks are surfaced with Siberian pine, 250m in length, 7.5m in width with a maximum angle of 45 degree. 

From the bottom to the top, there are four coloured lines – light blue, black, red and blue – that mark different zones. The four lines are:

Light Blue Line: marks the blue band for starting.

Black Line: also known as the black measurement line, this line is 20 cm above the blue band and defines the length of the track.

Red Line: the red sprinter’s line, and the area between the black and red lines is the optimum route around the track.

Blue Line: the blue stayer’s line. In Madison races, riders usually ‘rest’ above the blue line as they wait for their team mates.

For this year’s Olympic games, the track cycling event will be divided into six disciplines for both men and women: team sprint, team pursuit, Madison, individual pursuit, Keirin and sprint. 

Here's a breakdown of the two most exciting competitions in the sport:

● The Keirin

In the Keirin, five to seven riders follow a pace vehicle in positions determined by the drawing of lots. As the pace vehicle accelerates from 25 kmh to 50 kmh, it will exit for the explosive final 600m sprint to the finish.

The game starts with a preliminary heat in which the best two of each group will go on to the second round. A repechage will provide other competitors from each group with the second chance to level up to the next round. The second round is divided into two groups, with the fastest three from each group competing for medals and the remaining athletes for seventh to 12th placing.

● The Sprint

In the Sprint, riders start in a position determined by their 200m time trial results before racing in a one-on-one fashion towards the finish. Since more rounds have been added to the Games this year, athletes will have to go through 1/32 finals, 1/32 finals repechages, 1/16 finals, 1/16 finals repechages before reaching the best-of-three quarter-finals. The top four racers will vie for medals as the remaining racers dash for fifth to eighth placing.

The 3D experience can be viewed on both desktop and mobile.

For desktop: Click on “View in 3D” above. Use your mouse to zoom and rotate the object .

For mobile (optimal experience): Click on “View in 3D” above. Tap on the camera icon in the upper right-hand corner of the browser. Press “allow” (this prompt should come up twice). Place the object in your space, use your fingers to resize and rotate in augmented reality. To take a photo or video of what you’re seeing, tap on the screen and a camera icon will appear.

Tokyo Olympics Cycling Competitions

When: 2 to 8 August

Events: (Men and Women) Team Sprint, Team Pursuit, Madison, Individual Pursuit, Keirin, Sprint

Number of gold medals: 12

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