Car Track

Track cycling

Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially-built banked tracks or velodromes (but many events are held at older velodromes where the track banking is relatively shallow) using track bicycles.

Track racing is also done on grass tracks marked out on flat sportsfields. Such events are particularly common during the summer in Scotland at Highland Games gatherings, but there are also regular summer events in England.

Riding position

The bicycles are designed to reduce aerodynamic drag caused by the machine itself and the rider's racing position.

Handlebars on track bikes used for longer events such as the points race are similar to the drop bars found on road bicycles. The riding position is also similar to the road racing position.

In the sprint event the rider's position is more extreme compared with a road rider. The bars are lower and the saddle is higher and more forward. Bars are often narrower with a deeper drop. Steel bars are still used by many sprinters for their higher rigidity and durability.

In timed events such as the pursuit and the kilo, riders often use aerobars or 'triathlon bars' similar to those found on road time trial bicycles, allowing the rider to position the arms closer together in front of the body. This results in a more horizontal back and presents the minimum frontal area to reduce drag. Aerobars can be separate bars that are attached to time trial or bull horn bars, or they can be part of a one-piece monocoque design. Use of aerobars is permitted only in pursuit and time trial events.

Formats of track cycle races are also heavily influenced by aerodynamics. If one rider closely follows, they draft or slipstream another, because the leading rider pushes air around themselves; any rider closely following has to push out less air than the lead rider and thus can travel at the same speed while expending less effort. This fact has led to a variety of racing styles that allow clever riders or teams to exploit this tactical advantage, as well as formats that simply test strength, speed and endurance.

During the early 1990s in individual pursuit events, some riders, most notably Graeme Obree, adopted a straight-armed Superman-like position with their arms fully extended horizontally, but this position was subsequently outlawed by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport's ruling body. Recumbent bicycles can actually be ridden faster, but are banned from UCI competition. The International Human Powered Vehicle Association is a separate organisation that runs recumbent races, including the human-powered speed record.

Main centres

Track cycling is particularly popular in Europe, notably Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom where it is often used as off-season training by road racers (professional six-day 'Madison' events were often entered by two-man teams comprising a leading road racer and a track specialist).

The sport also has significant followings in Japan and Australia. It is part of the Summer Olympic Games, and there are UCI Track World Championships as well as circuits of professional events in many areas.

In the United States, track racing reached a peak of popularity in the 1930s when six-day races were held in Madison Square Garden in New York. The word "Madison" is still used as the name for this type of race in six-day racing.

Race formats

Some of the most common race formats include:

Track records

In addition to regular track racing, tracks are also the venue for many cycling records. These are over either a fixed distance or for a fixed period of time. The most famous of these is the hour record, which involves simply riding as far as possible in one hour. The history of the hour record is replete with exploits by some of the greatest names in cycling from both road and track racing (including, among others, Major Taylor, Henri Desgrange, Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Miguel Indurain and Tony Rominger). Originally, attempts were made at velodromes with reputations for being fast (such as the Velodromo Vigorelli in Milan). More recently, attempts have moved to high-altitude locations, such as Mexico City, where the thinner air results in lower aerodynamic drag, which more than offsets the added difficulty of breathing. Innovations in equipment and the rider's position on the bike have also led to dramatic improvements in the hour record, but have also been a source of controversy (see Graeme Obree).

Links to individual velodromes

Cities that host the Summer Olympic games usually construct a new velodrome for the event. World-class competition quality tracks not yet included in this section are located in Moscow, Seoul, Barcelona, Sydney and Athens.

Country Velodrome Location Notes
Dunc Gray velodrome Sydney, New South Wales Constructed for 2000 Summer Olympics
Darebin Indoor Sports Center (DISC) Melbourne, Victoria Banked. Built 2004.
Silverdome Launceston, Tasmania First indoor track in Australia Banked. Built 1984.
Glenmore Velodrome Calgary, Alberta 39 degree banked, 400m outdoor concrete track.
Forest City Velodrome London, Ontario 50 degree banked, 138m track constructed in 2005.
Burnaby Velodrome Vancouver 200m track constructed mid-1990s
Juan de Fuca Velodrome Victoria, British Columbia 333m track constructed for the 1994 Commonwealth Games
Laoshan Velodrome Beijing Constructed for 2008 Summer Olympics
The Calshot Velodrome Calshot (near Southampton) Short steeply banked track
Herne Hill Velodrome London a track in a shallow concrete bowl, constructed in 1891.
Maindy Stadium Cardiff 460m outdoor concrete track with 25 degree bankins, used in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
Manchester Velodrome Manchester 250m track constructed in 1994
Meadowbank Velodrome Edinburgh 250m outdoor wooden track constructed in 1985, used in the 1986 Commonwealth Games
Wales National Velodrome Newport Welsh National Velodrome opened in 2003
7-Eleven United States Olympic Training Center Velodrome Colorado Springs, CO 333.3 meter outdoor track with 33 degree banking. Constructed in 1982 in preparation for the 1984 Olympics in LA.
Major Taylor Veldrome Indianapolis, IN MTV is a 333.34 meter outdoor track with banked turns of 28 degrees and straights banked at 9 degrees. Has been the home for many national and international competitions, including the 1987 Pan American Games.
National Sports Center Velodrome Blaine, Minnesota (near Minneapolis) 333m outdoor wooden track, 43 degree banking; constructed in 1990.
Dick Lane Velodrome East Point, Georgia (near Atlanta) 323.4m outdoor concrete track, 36 degree max banking.
The Alkek Velodrome Houston, Texas 33 degree banked, outdoor concrete track, 333.33m.
The Superdrome Frisco, Texas (near Dallas) 44 degree banked, outdoor wooden track, 250m.
Kenosha Velodrome Kenosha, Wisconsin 27 degree banked, outdoor, 333m; constructed in 1927.
Asheville Velodrome Asheville, North Carolina 4-8 degree banked, outdoor, 500m. Converted race car track.
LA Velodrome Los Angeles County (Carson), California 250m track constructed in 2004
Alpenrose Velodrome Portland, Oregon 44 degree banked, outdoor track.
Marymoor Velodrome Redmond, Washington 25 degree banked, 400m outdoor concrete track; built 1974, resurfaced 2005.
Kissena Velodrome Flushing, Queens (New York City, New York) 400m outdoor; constructed in 1962, resurfaced in 2004.
Lehigh Valley Velodrome Trexlertown, Pennsylvania 28 degree banked, 333m outdoor concrete track; built 1975, renovated 1996.
San Diego Velodrome San Diego, California 27 degree banked, 333.3m outdoor concrete track, built 1976
Ed Rudolph Velodrome Northbrook, Illinois (near Chicago) 18 degree banked, 382m outdoor asphalt track, built 1959, renovated 2004.
Hellyer Park Velodrome San Jose, California 333m outdoor concrete track
The Velodrome at Bloomer Park Rochester Hills, Michigan 44° banking, 200 meter outdoor track build in 2002
Penrose Park St. Louis, Missouri 28 degree banked, 322m outdoor concrete track, built 1962 (hosted Nat'l Championships in 1962), resurfaced in 1984 and 2005
New England Velodrome Londonderry, New Hampshire 14 degree banked, 318m outdoor asphalt track, the track is primarily used for karting, however track events are held twice weekly.
Encino Velodrome Encino, CA 28 degree banked, 250m outdoor concrete track.
Brian Piccolo Velodrome Cooper City, FL (near Fort Lauderdale) Two outdoor tracks: 30 degree 333.3 meter competitive track and 10 degree 200 meter recreational track.
Millenáris Budapest 412m outdoor concrete track, built 1896

See also

External links

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