December 14, 2019
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The Rules of Track Cycling – EXPLAINED!

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

David Frank



  1. Ninh Ly Posted on 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 🙂

  2. Yoav Cohen Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Could you do the rules of road cycling

  3. Snaily Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm

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

  4. RedTyrant11 Posted on 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

  5. Night Survivor Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I finally know what a Keirin is…

  6. longevities Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

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

  7. RC pi Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

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

  8. Stephen Berry Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you for the videos

  9. Mr Regular Word Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Can you do the rules of pat ball?

  10. T Chop Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:43 pm

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

  11. Gary Turbo Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    I usually call elimination race "lap knockout"

  12. Brother Matthew Posted on June 2, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I love you ninh

  13. Logie Bear Posted on June 2, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Rules of Heads or Tails next

  14. Daniel K Posted on 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.

  15. DiggOlive Posted on June 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm

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

  16. Samuel Tatar Posted on June 2, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    to this moment i only knew kierin and pursuit events

  17. Nathan Flowers Posted on 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.

  18. Ciaran Dinsmore Posted on 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.

  19. Inspired Milk Posted on 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 🇨🇦

  20. Robbie Larson Posted on June 3, 2018 at 6:45 am

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

  21. sentry athlete Posted on June 3, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Bruh you have a girlfriend.

  22. Nikko Doan Posted on June 3, 2018 at 7:25 am

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

  23. Abhinandh _tc Posted on June 3, 2018 at 9:09 am

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

  24. David Rapperport Posted on June 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

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

  25. ShaolinPretzels Posted on June 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm

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

  26. Luke Zaccaria Posted on 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.

  27. Phil UnityUnreal Posted on June 3, 2018 at 8:45 pm

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

  28. redninja 1 Posted on June 3, 2018 at 10:29 pm

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

  29. SilentButAidan Posted on June 5, 2018 at 1:25 am

    I would probably do elimination race

  30. sentry athlete Posted on June 5, 2018 at 3:22 am

    You think you can help me with this school problem?

  31. Szarkbytes617 Posted on June 6, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Croquet next?

  32. Aleksi Tuononen Posted on June 6, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Underwater hockey?

  33. Jonathan Boucher Posted on 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)

  34. freelanceryuu Posted on June 9, 2018 at 9:32 am

    That looks like so much fun

  35. sentry athlete Posted on 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.

  36. sentry athlete Posted on June 9, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Forgot to hit a like.there it go.

  37. James Kendrick Posted on 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 🙁

  38. bukhkhkh Posted on June 12, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you very much. Very much needed

  39. Tech Support Posted on June 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    you should have included the longest lap

  40. Dan Pierre Posted on June 26, 2018 at 3:36 am

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

  41. Max Knight Posted on 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

  42. Michael Godfrey Posted on June 30, 2018 at 9:19 am

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

  43. ÆONSONE Posted on July 17, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Very nice, concise & clear. Good job mate.

  44. Karl Singleton Posted on July 20, 2018 at 2:50 am

    Hey Ninh, could you do the rules of F1?

  45. Glen Small Posted on July 30, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Excellent. Thank you and well done.

  46. The Catmother Posted on August 15, 2018 at 6:53 pm

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

  47. LemobeAn B Posted on August 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

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

  48. lwvmobile Posted on 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?

  49. Robert Jackson Posted on 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 😀

  50. Ben Brady Posted on 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..

  51. KEO Posted on September 4, 2018 at 3:02 am

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

  52. itamar galanti Posted on September 11, 2018 at 7:12 pm


  53. My Perspective Posted on September 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I did find this video to be informative.

  54. Macdom Posted on 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?

  55. Anthony Lewin Posted on October 10, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    crown green bowls will be a good video

  56. avalanchesoul Posted on 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.

  57. 5.000 subscriptions with no videos Posted on October 16, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I ll stick with mountainbike

  58. ARTISTIC-MELEE Posted on October 19, 2018 at 2:51 am

    Well done! thank you

  59. Raj Kumar Posted on 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.

  60. PUMA JPUMA Posted on 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.

  61. Albi Posted on October 23, 2018 at 7:14 pm

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

  62. Matt Glock45 Posted on November 6, 2018 at 3:11 am

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

  63. Solytix Posted on November 20, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you for this very interesting video 😉

  64. Manuel Gaertner Posted on November 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm

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

  65. Ryan Houk Posted on 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

  66. xlink316 Posted on December 4, 2018 at 4:06 pm

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

  67. Hamad Al-Ghanem Posted on December 25, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Great video

  68. Greasy Boy Posted on 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 😂😂 ?

  69. Aljaž Posted on January 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    im surprised femenists havent got here

  70. emmett villarreal Posted on 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.

  71. Crunchywrap Supreme Posted on January 20, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Can you do normal cycling?

  72. Embeh Posted on March 7, 2019 at 12:55 am

    how about the longest lap?

  73. I'M CAPITAL AK Posted on March 31, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Thanks !

  74. Sean Rew Posted on April 3, 2019 at 7:41 am

    와 구세주네 진짜

  75. HEAVYWALL 70 Posted on 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.

  76. Emo Bassist Posted on April 16, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Woah slipstreaming on bikes thats awesome

  77. GamingWithFun15 / GamingWithFunOffline Posted on April 17, 2019 at 3:17 am

    Awww, no Longest Revolution

  78. Fishtown BikesnBeans Posted on April 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    That was great!! Thanks for that info!

  79. Owen Chua Posted on April 22, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Road Cycling?

  80. sebasgutisala Posted on April 23, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    And the bike have no brakes

  81. Carol Whittingham Posted on 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.

  82. Laurin Drescher Posted on May 19, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Schön erklärt

  83. Shamborg Posted on May 22, 2019 at 11:13 am

    PLEASE do 5v5 flag football

  84. Mr xXx Posted on 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

  85. Texas Cowboy Posted on 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.

  86. YNM Geeks Posted on August 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm

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