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The velodrome, located in the western edge of the Olympics Park, is a simple but beautiful piece of architecture. With a curved and sloping facade of natural wood, the outside mimics the inside. We went on Day 10 of the games to see track cycling (would have loved to see BMX cycling which started after we had left).

When we arrived, the races had already begun. But we managed to find seats near the starting/finishing line.

We saw a series of men short distance sprint races. This type of one-on-one race required just three circuits around the track.

A lot of strategy is involved in this type of cat-and-mouse race – until one decides to start sprinting. If one is at the edge on top the slope,  extra speed is gained when coming down.  The leader has to constantly looking back to see where the opponent is. Sorry about my shaky hands holding the camera.

Jason Kenny of Team GB won the gold medal, beating the French.

In the middle of the track (the pit) was where all the preparations for the races were done.

The next event was the elimination race of the women’s Omnium. We had no idea of the structure or rules of the event until it started. But it was a lot of fun to watch. The match started with 18 riders and every two laps, the slowest rider was eliminated.

The omnium consists of 6 events, according to the 2012 web site:

– Flying lap: this is a race against the clock. 
– Points race (30km for men, 20km for women): riders score points for sprints which occur every 10 laps during the race, and for lapping the field.
– Elimination race: a bunch race with an intermediate sprint every two laps; the last rider each time is eliminated.
– Individual pursuit: (4,000m for men, 3,000m for women): two riders start at opposite sides of the track and race against the clock.
– Scratch race: This is a straightforward race over 16km for men and 10km for women. The first rider to cross the line wins.
– Time trial (1km for men, 500m for women): Each competitor rides the course aiming for the fastest time.

In an elimination race, in the back of the pack, the riders are all trying not to be the last, while those in the front wants to ride at an even pace to conserve energy.

Towards the end of the elimination race, when there are only two or three riders left, the strategy resembles those used in a sprint race.

It was a really very exciting event to watch!

Laura Trott of Team GB won the elimination race, and won the gold medal for the Omnium event on the following day.


One Comment

  1. thanks for the glimpse into the sport. i checked this out because i had recently read of a controversial plan to build a new velodrome on the Brooklyn Heights waterfront. now I see that it’s very watchable…but looks insanely dangerous.

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