The Rules of Track Cycling – EXPLAINED!
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The Rules of Track Cycling – EXPLAINED!

November 18, 2019

Ninh explains, the Rules of Track Cycling
The object of the game is to cycle faster than your opponents.
Track Cycling, sometimes referred to as ‘Olympic Track Cycling’, is contested indoors, on
a curved banked track that measures 250m long, otherwise known as a Velodrome.
In general, the rider who crosses the finish line first, wins.
Shortest video ever, right? Well, sadly not. Rather confusingly, track
cycling has many different events, each with significantly different rules to each other.
I‘m not going to cover every single event in this video, but the most popular events
are: Individual Time Trial
This is the simplest event to understand, as it’s purely a race against the clock.
The distance is 1km for men and for 500m for women.
You’re out there on your own and the fastest rider across the finish line from a standing
start, wins.>A flying time trial allows you to build
up speed before they start the clock, and only the last 200m is timed. Fastest over
200m is the winner. Individual Pursuit.
It’s very similar to the time trial, except that now – you’re racing against someone.
Individual riders start from opposite ends of the track.
When the starting gun goes off, they have to race 4km for men and 3km for women.
First person to cross the line wins The fastest four winners will ride off against
each other until there is only one winner. Team Pursuit
Four riders will ride for 4 km against another team.
Each team starts from opposite ends of the track.
The team that catches the other team, or that records the fastest time over 4km, wins.
In Team Pursuit, there is a catch – at least three riders must finish the race and the
time is taken from the third rider’s front wheel crossing the line.
Individual Sprint The ultimate game of cat-and-mouse. The distance
is just 750m or 3 laps of an Olympic track. Riders start next to each other and both will
try and use tactics to either make the opponent go first, or to push the rider in an unfavourable
position, before making a run for the line themselves.
The time you take to do these three laps does not matter.
All that matters is you must cross the finish line before your opponent.
The rider who wins 2 out of 3 races, wins the individual sprint.
Team Sprint. Teams start at opposite ends of the track
and consist of 3 riders over 3 laps for men, 2 riders over 2 laps for women
The first rider sets the pace, and after 1 lap, must peel away from the pack.
The next rider (for men) also has a lap before they must also ride away.
The last rider then has to sprint the final lap to the finish line on their own.
The teams with the two best times, ride off to be crowned the winner, and there are also
contests for 3rd & 4th place. Keirin
Possibly the strangest event in Track cycling is the Keirin.
Developed in Japan as a means of gambling, it consists of up to 7 riders over 8 laps
of the track. Except that 5 ½ of those laps consists of
following a motorised bicycle, known as a derny.
Riders must stay behind the derny as it increases in speed – and they will try to jostle each
other out of position to get an advantage over their rivals
Once the derny pulls away from the track, it’s a free-for-all sprint for the last
2.5 laps. First person to cross the finish line after
all 8 laps, wins. Elimination Race
24 riders start at the same time over a race of 50 laps.
The rules are simple – don’t be last. Because in every two laps, whoever is the
last to cross the start line is eliminated. This carries on until there is only one winner. Scratch Race
A mid distance event that is 15km for Men, and 10km for Women.
The rules are simple – be the first across the finish line.
Endurance riders will try and outpace sprinters, and sprinters will try an d hide in the main
pack to conserve energy before making a final run.
How you play it is up to you … so long as you cross the line first.
Points Race Think of this as NASCAR racing … on bicycles.
A long distance event that is 40km for Men, and 25km for Women.
A sprint is held every 10 laps, signalled by a bell.
Points are awarded to the first four across the line for each sprint and points are double
during the last sprint of the race. Riders can also earn 20 points for lapping
the field. Most points at the end of the race, wins.
Madison Put simply – it’s a points race but with
teams of two riders. Only one rider can race at a time, so riders
must touch or tag their partner for them to be eligible to race. You’ll see them slinging
each other to give each other a boost. The race is 50km for men, and 30km for women.
The team with the most points at the end of the race, wins.
Omnium This is the decathlon of cycling events, and
is comprised of the following 4 or 6 races. You get points depending on the position you
finish at each race, and the rider with the most amount of points after 4 or 6 events
is the winner of the Omnium. Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes, there’s a few other things you’ll need to know before riding or watching track
cycling. For example: Lines
There are lines that go around the perimeter of the track and they all mean different things. The cote d’azur is the start of the velodrome.
This light blue strip is for entering and exiting the track only. The black line – also known as the datum line
– and denotes the shortest length of the track; 250-metres for an Olympic facility.
Riders will try to stay glued to the black line as this is the shortest and fastest way
around the track. The red line is also known as the sprinter’s
line. If a rider is in the channel betwen black and red lines, the opponent must come
around the red line and can only cross their path once the overtake is complete. You cannot
use this lane to overtake other riders. The blue line – also known as the stayer’s
line – is for use in Madison races. The resting riders will circulate above the blue until
they are tagged back into action. False Start.
If you start before the starting gun goes off, the gun will fire a second time to indicate
that you have started early. This is known as a false start. If you commit two false
starts, you are disqualified from the contest. Slip Streaming and Drafting
During the team events, you’ll see riders follow each other very closely.
And sometimes, you’ll see riders intentionally move from the front, to the back – but why?
Due to aerodynamics, cycling in a pack expends less energy than cycling alone, especially
if you’re at the back. Team will usually share the workload and swap places during
a race to conserve energy and be in the best position to sprint for the line.
That’s a lot to take in, but once you’ve watched cycling for a while, the rules will
become clear. If you have found this video at all helpful,
please be sure to like share and subscribe. It takes me ages to make one of these things
and good karma is very much appreciated. Follow me on Twitter also and share on Reddit,
but in the meantime – enjoy Olympic Track Cycling. Ninh Ly – – @NinhLyUK


  • Reply Ninh Ly June 2, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    EDIT – I've been reliably informed that the Keirin is now just 6 laps, with the Derny pulling off after 3 laps. I must have used an old rulebook and/or footage.

    This is an extremely hard sport! I had tryouts at Manchester Velodrome when they were recruiting talent.
    There were some people I could never keep up with, no matter what I tried.
    I think at that elite level – you either have it or you don't.
    Be sure to like share & subscribe 🙂

  • Reply Yoav Cohen June 2, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Could you do the rules of road cycling

  • Reply Snaily June 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    I'd love to do this but I am nowhere close to fit enough.

  • Reply RedTyrant11 June 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Could you do the rules of Stock Car racing. I know you mentioned the rules changing a lot but you could mention that the reason for rule changes is because of new cars and new drivers with different styles of racing. It would be amazing to watch you explain Stock Car Racing

  • Reply Night Survivor June 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I finally know what a Keirin is…

  • Reply longevities June 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    these vids r so iconic i have ther knowledge of a sportsman now

  • Reply RC pi June 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Looks like I'm pretty early! Thank you so much for the video!

  • Reply Stephen Berry June 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you for the videos

  • Reply Mr Regular Word June 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Can you do the rules of pat ball?

  • Reply T Chop June 2, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Can you do the rules of track running and one on field events?

  • Reply Gary Turbo June 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    I usually call elimination race "lap knockout"

  • Reply Iceman ‘04 June 2, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I love you ninh

  • Reply Logie Bear June 2, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Rules of Heads or Tails next

  • Reply Daniel K June 2, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Well this was unexpected! However this is an awesome video as always! This is also probably the best video explaining track cycling because ot explains pretty much all the events and also explains some of the nuances and rules of racing such as the lines.

  • Reply DiggOlive June 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Did you do the motion graphics in this video? The slipstreaming visualization?

  • Reply Samuel Tatar June 2, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    to this moment i only knew kierin and pursuit events

  • Reply Nathan Flowers June 2, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    You should check out medivel fights(im not kidding its a real thing). Maybe you could make a video about it.

  • Reply Ciaran Dinsmore June 3, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Great video Ninh! Are you thinking about making a videos about the other cycling disciplines? BMX, Cyclo-Cross, Mountain Biking, Road Cycling. I love your videos, and since cycling is my favorite sport, I like seeing you make videos about it.

  • Reply Inspired Milk June 3, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Track cycling is so much fun to watch but it is so hard to understand! Thanks for clearing it up and making it easier to understand! Much appreciated from Canada 🇨🇦

  • Reply Robbie Larson June 3, 2018 at 6:45 am

    When they are done do they go back to fighting the Empire?

  • Reply sentry athlete June 3, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Bruh you have a girlfriend.

  • Reply Nikko Doan June 3, 2018 at 7:25 am

    That sport scares me. I broke my right arm riding a bike which is never fun.

  • Reply Abhinandh _tc June 3, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Please explain about Indian game kabaddi (a major event in Asian games)

  • Reply David Rapperport June 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I love your content!!! Could you do F1?

  • Reply ShaolinPretzels June 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I always wanted to do this, but we need more velodromes here in Pennsylvania! 😅 Great video, Ninh!

  • Reply Luke Zaccaria June 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Nice vid, however the rules of the Keirin changed after the 2016 Rio Olympics. It is now 6 laps, 3 behind the derny and 3 lap sprint.

  • Reply Phil UnityUnreal June 3, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Very hard sport but very fun in the same time! 🙂

  • Reply redninja 1 June 3, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    You should do a fantasy card game like Pokémon or YuGiOh next. They’re surprisingly fun

  • Reply SilentButAidan June 5, 2018 at 1:25 am

    I would probably do elimination race

  • Reply sentry athlete June 5, 2018 at 3:22 am

    You think you can help me with this school problem?

  • Reply Szarkbytes617 June 6, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Croquet next?

  • Reply Aleksi Tuononen June 6, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Underwater hockey?

  • Reply Jonathan Boucher June 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Do flag football and double touche football and maybe a comparison of both (like your canadian/americain football video)

  • Reply freelanceryuu June 9, 2018 at 9:32 am

    That looks like so much fun

  • Reply sentry athlete June 9, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Like it forgot to mention.also you work very hard on this video.and I'm about check out the new video you just made.

  • Reply sentry athlete June 9, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Forgot to hit a like.there it go.

  • Reply James Kendrick June 10, 2018 at 4:16 am

    Awesome video. I think they have cut the number of events of the omnium so that it is only sprinting events now 🙁

  • Reply bukhkhkh June 12, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you very much. Very much needed

  • Reply Tech Support June 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    you should have included the longest lap

  • Reply zook420000 June 21, 2018 at 2:11 am


  • Reply Dan Pierre June 26, 2018 at 3:36 am

    Dude this was perfectly made and extremely informative, thank you.

  • Reply Max Knight June 27, 2018 at 4:29 am

    +Ninh Ly you should do a video on longest lap cycling. It is one of the weirder track cycling events but it is very fun to watch

  • Reply Michael Godfrey June 30, 2018 at 9:19 am

    So glad to see that the Madison is coming back to the Olympics!

  • Reply ÆONSONE July 17, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Very nice, concise & clear. Good job mate.

  • Reply Karl Singleton July 20, 2018 at 2:50 am

    Hey Ninh, could you do the rules of F1?

  • Reply Glen Small July 30, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Excellent. Thank you and well done.

  • Reply The Catmother August 15, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    That was awesome. I was watching European championships and found myself really confused at times.

  • Reply LemobeAn B August 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Great video really helps a roadie know what's going on in a velodrome

  • Reply lwvmobile August 23, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    So, why is it exactly that women have fewer laps and shorter distances for? Seems kind of backwards nowadays. Nobody ever thought to modernize things and make it even?

  • Reply srinjoy bose August 26, 2018 at 8:33 am


  • Reply Robert Jackson September 1, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I didn't understand track cycling before this video but now I do. Thanks for letting us know and keep up the good work 😀

  • Reply Ben Brady September 3, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I will have lived after building a Nagasawa (proper) and finding a velodrome that'll have me. Thank you for introducing me to another reason why bikes are awesome..

  • Reply KEO September 4, 2018 at 3:02 am

    thanks!! cuz i dont know WTF their doing😂😂👌

  • Reply itamar galanti September 11, 2018 at 7:12 pm


  • Reply My Perspective September 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I did find this video to be informative.

  • Reply Ali Neymar September 20, 2018 at 3:59 am


  • Reply NijuGMD September 26, 2018 at 6:41 am

    What happens if you unintentionally cross the cote d'azure? You're eliminated, get a time penalty or what?

  • Reply Anthony Lewin October 10, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    crown green bowls will be a good video

  • Reply avalanchesoul October 13, 2018 at 5:03 am

    These rules sound like the rules you make up when you're a kid trying to invent games on the spot. Lol fuckin ridiculous.

  • Reply 5.000 subscriptions with no videos October 16, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I ll stick with mountainbike

  • Reply herbapet October 17, 2018 at 2:46 am


  • Reply ARTISTIC-MELEE October 19, 2018 at 2:51 am

    Well done! thank you

  • Reply Raj Kumar October 21, 2018 at 5:37 am

    Very well explained. I liked the concept of riding in a group and the way the 1st rider moves back to conserve energy. Really a great scientific piece of information I learnt . Thank you.

  • Reply PUMA JPUMA October 22, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    At 68 I'm getting ready to ride the track again. I haven't been on since my late 20's. This video made it all clear again and pumped up my confidence knowing I have the immediate information not to make a fool of myself. You want to increase your bike handling, leg speed, cardio, plus so much more… ride the track. It will make you a much better road rider.

  • Reply Albi October 23, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    I thought this was a boring sports. But ohh boy, I was wrong.

  • Reply Matt G19X November 6, 2018 at 3:11 am

    Thankyou for making such an informative video! Good bless from texas🙌

  • Reply Solytix November 20, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you for this very interesting video 😉

  • Reply Manuel Gaertner November 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Thx for the Video. We will get a new velodrom in Nürnberg/Germany.

  • Reply Ryan Houk December 1, 2018 at 5:15 am

    Do you think you could do the different rule sets of dodgeball? I have played one version and seen about five different forms and one of the one ones I didnt play seems like the best form

  • Reply xlink316 December 4, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Love this video! I want to give track a shot next season.

  • Reply Hamad Al-Ghanem December 25, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Great video

  • Reply Greasy Boy December 27, 2018 at 3:24 am

    Yh mate real cool with all these games they play but quick question; how much travel have they got in both front and rear sus 😂😂 ?

  • Reply Aljaž January 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    im surprised femenists havent got here

  • Reply emmett villarreal January 19, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Rule number one no epo.
    Rule number 2 again no epo.
    Rule number 3 don't get caught
    Rule number 4 again don't get caught.

  • Reply Karan Kuvvet January 20, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Can you do normal cycling?

  • Reply 00 goop March 3, 2019 at 12:45 am


  • Reply Embeh March 7, 2019 at 12:55 am

    how about the longest lap?

  • Reply John DeF March 12, 2019 at 4:27 am


  • Reply Khoo Yuhao March 18, 2019 at 5:08 pm


  • Reply I'M CAPITAL AK March 31, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Thanks !

  • Reply Sean Rew April 3, 2019 at 7:41 am

    와 구세주네 진짜

  • Reply HEAVYWALL 70 April 11, 2019 at 7:33 am

    I love velodrome racing
    The elimination race is certainly my favorite along with team pursuit and time trail.

  • Reply Emo Bassist April 16, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Woah slipstreaming on bikes thats awesome

  • Reply GamingWithFun15 / GamingWithFunOffline April 17, 2019 at 3:17 am

    Awww, no Longest Revolution

  • Reply Fishtown BikesnBeans April 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    That was great!! Thanks for that info!

  • Reply Owen Chua April 22, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Road Cycling?

  • Reply sebasgutisala April 23, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    And the bike have no brakes

  • Reply Carol Whittingham May 11, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Many thanks for the fab video. My Grandson is competing in an Omnium at the Manchester velodrome tomorrow. His first track competition. The information has helped me to understand the various events so much better.

  • Reply Laurin Drescher May 19, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Schön erklärt

  • Reply Shamborg May 22, 2019 at 11:13 am

    PLEASE do 5v5 flag football

  • Reply Mr xXx May 25, 2019 at 2:42 am

    а почему они такие мясистые??
    велосипедисты из турдефранс какие то конченные дрищи, как будто 5 лет в концлагерях провели

  • Reply Texas Cowboy August 11, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the explanation. I was watching the track cycling at the Pan American games and I couldn't figure out why one team won over the other. Thanks to you, now I know.

  • Reply Nemesis. Official August 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Like for every time he said “the rules are simple”

  • Reply Dhruv Jain August 28, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Good video!🥰🥰

  • Reply Peter Strianus September 9, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    A beautiful sport very difficult to catch online. Does someone knows some good streaming channel? Legal 🤣

  • Reply Ali Alami September 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    it's funny how this sport have various type of competitions and yet it's not popular and nobody want to watch it lmao

  • Reply Michal Warbinski October 12, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Do rules of Cross Country

  • Reply Zahoor Ali Mehdi October 15, 2019 at 3:25 am

    For Cycling in Olympic a Ring is used what is called it?

  • Reply ▌M τ ▌ October 27, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    now that i know some of it…i realize this might as well be one of the most interesting and fun sport above all. I can hardly even think of any other sport with so many interesting variations.

  • Reply Ky_ BoyMK1 October 31, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    Omnium can have five races hence the name 'omnium'.

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