Ulster Cycling News

Track Sprint Events

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Sprint races are generally between 3 and 8 laps in length and focus on pure sprinting power and race tactics over a small number of laps to defeat opponents. They usually last no more than two minutes. Sprint riders will train specifically to compete in races of this length and will usually not compete in longer endurance races.

Main Sprint Events

  • Sprint
  • Team Sprint
  • Kierin
  • Track Time Trial

The descriptions of each event below are taken from the the UCI guidelines.

Individual Sprint

Qualification consists of flying start 200 m time trials. These are followed by knockout heats of 2-3 laps. The best two riders fight it out in the final. Sometimes riders will come to a standstill  and perform what is known as a 'track stand'. This is done in an effort to make their opponent take the lead. It is more advantageous to be at the back in an individual sprint before the final sprint to the finish line.

Team Sprint

This speciality is raced by teams of three riders over three laps of the track (for women, 2 riders over 2 laps). Each rider leads for a lap before dropping back. After the heats, the 2 best teams line up to contest the final. Those who registered the 3rd and 4th fastest times meet up in a B final which decides the last place available on the podium.


Keirin racing originated in Japan. Between 3 and 7 riders compete in a sprint race of 600-700 m after having followed in the slipstream of a pacing motorbike (derny)  for the first 1,400 m. The motorbike gradually increases the speed from 30 to 50 km/h (25 to 45 km/h for women).

Track Time Trial

This is an individual time trial from a standing start. The competitor with the fastest time is the winner. For men the distance is a kilometre so the event is often called the KILO. For women the event distance is 500m