The track cycling events at the Olympics get under way tonight with the team pursuit’s qualifications. Be ready: the Danish team is an international superpower and all hopes are allowed.
Here’s a brief overview of events in which the team will participate and a brief demystification of track cycling in general.
The Sport’s History
Track cycling was born in the 19th century. The first World Championships were held in 1895.
Velodrome distances usually vary between 200 meters (with very steep banking) to 450 meters (for concrete exterior surfaces).
In the Olympics the standard is 250 meters of covered and 100% wood surface. In addition, the track should be hard and straight, and it should hold its shape as it ages.
A 250 meter track generally contains 60km of 40mm x 40mm x 6m planks, all held together by some 360,000 nails. As it ages, the wooden floor matures: the material hardens and the track becomes faster. It may have a life expectancy of several decades.
The Danish Team’s Disciplines
Most track cycling disciplines are divided into two categories: “sprint” or “endurance.” As for the Danish team, its specialties lie in endurance: the Team Pursuit and the omnium.
Team Pursuit (Men)
Two four-rider teams start on opposite sides of the track and try to set the fastest time over the distance as with the individual pursuit. The time taken is on the third rider to cross the line.
Riders must follow each other at a few centimeters difference to gain the maximum drafting effect from the rider in front. A touch of wheels can bring down the whole team down.
At the Olympics, the team pursuit’s final is preceded by two rounds of qualifying.
The current Olympic record is held by Great Britain at the 2012 London Games, with 3:51:659. This year we can expect to see results under 3:50.
Omnium (Men and Women)
The omnium is one of the most recent Olympic track events, where it made its debut in 2012.
It consists of the following six events held over 2 days: scratch race, individual pursuit, elimination race, time trial, 1 km, flying lap (against the clock), points race.
For each event, the runner cash points according to its final position, and the winner is the one who accumulates the most. Only a well-rounded and very endurant rider can win the omnium.
The representatives of the Danish team for the omnium are Lasse Norman, omnium Gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, and the female hope Amalie Dideriksen.
Click here to check our calendar of events.
Click here to see a video of Oliver Grenaa on the team’s preparation.
About the Danish National Track Cycling Team
Back in 2008, at the Beijing Summer Games, the national track team won the silver medal of the Men’s team pursuit. Then at the 2012 London Summer Games, Lasse Norman Hansen took the gold of the Men’s omnium with a stellar performance in this gruelling event. He will now have to defend his title in the omnium at the Rio Summer Olympics and prove once again he has the fighting spirit of a Champion.