As the games draw near focus is increasing for the London 2012 Olympic Games. One of the most historic, extreme and concentration intensive sporting events during these games will be track cycling. For this event riders glide around a specially designed track referred to as a velodrome. These tracks are a smooth oval track with 12.4 degrees of banking on the straightaway and 42 degrees at each end. Special light weight bikes are used and riders take their sport very seriously. It is extremely popular in Belgium, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
There will be new changes in place for the London 2012 Olympics and are these changes are intended to bring some excitement and equality back to the sport. Olympic track cycling has been an event during the games since 1896. The event has undergone many changes throughout the years and this will be the first Olympic Games that the same number of events will be accessible for both men and women.
With new rule changes taking place this promises to be a not to be missed affair. The Madison race will be replaced by the omnium. Other races still available are the keirin, team pursuit, and the individual and team sprint. Sprint races require both strength and speed. These short distanced races consist of two or more riders that cover the distance of three laps. The only part of this race to be timed is the last 200 meters. Team sprint races have two teams of three riders that compete for the three laps. The first two riders alternate leading the race and maintaining the pace until the final lap when the third will finish. In the Keirin riders compete over a distance of 2000 meters. The first 1400 meters are paced and then the riders turn up the heat for the last 600 meters. Pursuit races are endurance races where riders attempt to post the fastest time over their set distance.
The number of medals handed out this Olympic Games will be equal for both men and women, with each having five events offered for them to compete in. The Olympic omnium will still maintain the Scratch races and will double the distances of those races. Exciting new elimination races will be held in this new format. Twenty four riders will compete and the last rider to cross the line every two laps will be eliminated.
Chris Hoy, winner of three gold medals in track cycling in Beijing, has stated that he will not run as many events in his final Olympics appearance to ensure his being able to have a chance at defending his medals. One team making a strong showing is the Australians, but team Great Britain is still favoured.
Some teams not happy with the new changes and most outspoken were the teams from Belgium and Germany. Riders who have been training constantly and competed in the world championships now find themselves without their event to compete in during the Olympic Games.