Track cycling

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Cycling Science


Human Kinetics

Place of Publication

Champaign, United States


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Abbiss, C. R., & Menaspà, P. (2017). Track cycling. In S. S. Cheung & M. Zabala (Eds.), Cycling Science (pp. 456-466). Human Kinetics. Available here


he fi rst track-cycling competitions date back to the late 19th century (i.e., 1870). Track cycling has been an Olympic sport since the fi rst edition of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, with the exception of the 1912 edition, when the organizing committee decided not to build a velodrome. In recent years, the Olympic Games track-cycling program has considerably changed with the inclusion of new competitions and the loss of more traditional events. Since the London 2012 Games, the Games have had 10 events, 5 for men and 5 for women. Track cyclists could be classifi ed into two distinct categories based on their anthropometric and physiological characteristics, which suit different races. Indeed, many short competitions are designed for sprinters; longer races, sometimes involving bunch riding, are specifi cally intended for endurance cyclists. Velodromes have a characteristic oval shape consisting of two straights and two turns. Both the straights and the turns are banked, though with differing slopes. Velodromes can be categorized into the following types: indoor or outdoor; short or long based on their lengths, ranging from about 180 meters to more than 600 meters; and fast or slow based on their surfaces (i.e., wood or concrete). Shorter velodromes typically have steeper banking when compared with longer velodromes. Recent Track World Championships and Olympic Games typically have been organized on indoor, 250- meter wooden velodromes. In the last century more than 100 velodromes have been built by Schuermann Architects.

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