|Competitions held||173 (Venues)|
|IF||Union Cycliste Internationale|
Track cycling is one of the main forms of cycling as a sport. It is conducted on a purpose-built oval track, called a velodrome, on highly-specialized track bicycles. When the first cycling races commenced halfway during the 19th century, special cycling tracks were soon used, notably in Great Britain. These had the advantage of not being on the public road, where racing would sometimes be prohibited, and it also concentrated the audience in a single place. The popularity of the races quickly spread to the European continent and across the Atlantic, and velodromes appeared in most major cities.
The first track cycling world championships were held in 1893 in Chicago. The sport also featured at the 1896 Olympic Games and has since been contested at every Olympics, except for 1912 in Stockholm, when the only cycling event was a road race. In the United States, six-day racing became the most popular track cycling format. During the Great Depression, the sport lost a lot of its popularity in Europe, and it declined in the 1930s in the US.
While road racing now is the dominant cycling discipline in media and public attention, track racing remains commonly practiced. Many track cyclists, however, switch to road racing after a track racing career, as more honors (and money) are available to be earned in that discipline. Still, there is an active six-day racing circuit in Europe, where track cyclists can do well financially, and the best Japanese keirin racers can earn millions, as it is a popular betting sport.
Track cycling’s Olympic Program has varied. There are various kinds of track cycling race formats, which are generally divided into two categories: speed and endurance events. The speed events last only a few laps and obviously require raw speed – cyclists may reach speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph). The most common speed events are the sprint, the keirin, the team sprint, the time trial (usually 500 or 1,000 metres), the tandem sprint, and the flying lap.
Several speed events also require tactics, but this is more prevalent in the endurance events. Here, cyclists must maintain their speed over a longer period, but may need to be able to fight for the victory in the last metres. Notable endurance events are the individual pursuit, the team pursuit, the points race, the Madison, the scratch race, and motor-paced racing. In recent years, an all-around event has been added to international championships, the omnium, which features both speed and endurance events. Six-day races, traditionally an extreme example of an endurance race but not an Olympic event, now also feature several speed elements.
The women’s Olympic Program in track cycling began in 1988, with the addition of the match sprint. Over the new few Olympiads, the program was expanded, with six track events for women in 2000 and 2004.
For 2012, both the men’s and women’s track cycling program were changed significantly. The popular individual pursuit race was then eliminated, as was the Madison race and points race. In order to equalize the programs for men and women, they now compete in six track disciplines – the sprint, team sprint, team pursuit, keirin, Madison, and omnium. As aforementioned, the omnium is an all-around type of event, in which all the riders have competed in four-to-six races, with scoring on a points-for-place basis.
Track cycling was dominated by France and Italy in the 20th century but then a concerted effort by Great Britain overhauled their medal total at the start of the 21st century. Great Britain leads the medal table in the discipline with 79 medals and 33 golds, followed by France, with 67 medals and 28 golds, and there are 12 other nations with more than 10 medals. Three cyclists from Great Britain lead the men’s medal table in this discipline: Jason Kenny (nine medals and seven golds), Chris Hoy (seven medals and six golds), and Bradley Wiggins (seven medals and four golds). Jason Kenny’s wive, Laura Trott-Kenny, leads the women’s table, with five golds and one silver. Australian Anna Meares also won six medals in track cycling, with two golds.
Track cycling is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which was founded on 14 April 1900, in Paris, with five founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. The UCI was established as an alternative to the International Cycling Association (ICA), which had been set up in 1892. In 1965, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) required the UCI to split into an amateur and a professional organization, the Fédération Internationale Amateur de Cyclisme (FIAC) and Fédération Internationale de Cyclisme Professionnel (FICP), respectively. In 1992, the FIAC and FICP rejoined to form the UCI. As of 2022, the UCI has 201 member nations.
|People's Republic of China||CHN||2||3||3||8|
|Hong Kong, China||HKG||0||0||2||2|
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|
|Team Pursuit, 4,000 metres||Men||24|
|333⅓ metres Time Trial||Men||2|
|1,000 metres Time Trial||Men||18|
|Tandem Sprint, 2,000 metres||Men||14|
|Individual Pursuit, 4,000 metres||Men||12|
|Team Pursuit, 1,980 yards||Men||1|
|1 mile, Motorcycle||Men||2|
|1 mile, Novice||Men||1|
|½ mile, Handicap||Men||1|
|1 mile, Handicap||Men||1|
|5 miles, Handicap||Men||1|
|Tandem Sprint, Professionals||Men||1|
|Team Sprint, Professionals||Men||1|
|Points Race, Professionals||Men||1|
|⅓ mile, Professionals||Men||2|
|½ mile, Professionals||Men||1|
|⅔ mile, Professionals||Men||1|
|1 mile, Professionals||Men||3|
|50 kilometres, Professionals||Men||1|
|100 kilometres, Professionals||Men||1|
|100 miles, Professionals||Men||1|
|24-Hours Race, Professionals||Men||1|
|3,000 metres, Handicap, Professionals||Men||1|
|25 kilometres Motor-paced, Professionals||Men||1|
|National Team Sprint, Professionals||Men||1|
|Australian Team Pursuit, Professionals||Men||1|
|½ mile, Handicap, Professionals||Men||1|
|1 mile, Handicap, Professionals||Men||2|
|2 miles, Handicap, Professionals||Men||1|
|500 metres Time Trial||Women||2|