28 March 2023

What is Track Cycling?

Eleven events will be contested, each of them a unique challenge of power, poise, strategy and stamina. Welcome to Track Cycling!

There are 11 different events contested within the Velodrome

What is Track Cycling?

Track is where bikes go fast… and we mean seriously fast. 

Riders reach blink-or-you’ll-miss-it speeds in excess of 44mph - not a typo!

But riders have to be more than just quick. Power, poise, strategy and stamina are also of paramount importance across eleven unique events, where some of cycling’s most iconic - and dramatic - moments take place.

Riders reach blink-or-you’ll-miss-it speeds in excess of 44mph
Riders reach blink-or-you’ll-miss-it speeds in excess of 44mph

Hold onto your aerodynamic helmets!

A velodrome track isn’t a velodrome track unless it features steeply banked curves, and The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome - the spiritual home of cycling in Scotland - does not disappoint.

With the banked corners curving at a vertigo-inducing 45° angle, riders exit them at insanely high speeds. And if they want to win, they have to, because fractions of a second determine who gets to go home a hero.

The 250m track itself is built from Siberian pine, which is one of the fastest woods in the world. It may be sourced from permafrost forests, but the air in the velodrome is kept deliberately warm so the bikes go faster. Staying well hydrated is strongly advised for riders and spectators alike!

The final thing to note is the coloured lines. 

Red is the sprinter’s line - the clue is in the name! Riders must go round this to overtake.

Black represents the shortest route around the track, so with efficiency being essential, riders want to live here as much as they can.

The blue line is known as the stayer’s line, where riders rest as required. This is important in long distance events like the madison.

Bike To The Future

Think of track bikes like F1 cars: engineered in every possible way for speed.

They have to be both incredibly light and incredibly strong, to be fast and stay fast.

They have no gears (other than one: fast!) and the high-pressure tires are narrow, so there’s less friction at the point of contact between the track and the bike.

The bikes may be beautiful, but if you fancy one, be prepared to remortgage your house… at competition spec, they can cost anywhere up to £20,000.

Riders lining up behind the 'Derny' in the Keirin
Riders lining up behind the 'Derny' in the Keirin

What Events Are There?

Eleven events will be contested at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Champs. They’re all worth your attention, but there are a few that really stand out.

The classic format is Sprint, where riders go one on one in duels of pure power and gamesmanship. There’s also a Team variant, where three riders take one lap each.

Team Pursuit is another must-watch, where two teams of four riders start on opposite sides of the track. If one team catches the other, they win. If nobody catches anyone, the winner is the fastest time over 4km for men or 3km for women.

In Elimination, riders sprint every two laps and the rider that crosses the line last on the sprint lap is eliminated. The field is narrowed as only the strongest sprinters stay cycling.

If you want to read about the other events and how they work, check out this link: https://www.cyclingworldchamps.com/championships/track/

Zoe Armstrong heads to the UCI Track Nations Cup at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome to show you just what happens in the mysterious (and sometimes confusing!) world of track cycling!


Para-cyclists ride the exact same events under the same rules as their non-disabled counterparts.

The Para-Cycling classification system determines which Para-cyclists are eligible to compete in different categories of impairment.

Ones to watch 2023

Champions and challengers will head to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome this August all with the dream of pulling on the coveted, and iconic, rainbow stripes. But only a handful will come away with the ultimate prize. 

Everyone's capable of becoming UCI World Champion, but we've pulled out a few competitors for you to keep an eye on...

Great Britain's Neah Evans

🇬🇧 Neah Evans

An endurance specialist, Neah’s won Olympic silver, six European championships, and a Commonwealth Games medalist. Neah was born in Langbank, so The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is home turf for her.

Great Britain's Neil Fachie OBE

🇬🇧 Neil Fachie OBE

Born with a congenital eye condition, Neil has a long and successful career in sports for individuals with a visual impairment. He has four Paralympic medals and an incredible 14 World Championship golds. Neil’s another Scot, so he’ll be looking to add to his tally in front of a home crowd.

Great Britain's Dame Sarah Storey

🇬🇧 Dame Sarah Storey

Sarah is a true superwoman, with 28 Paralympic medals to her name - making her the most decorated British Paralympian of all time. She’s been competing since 1992, and we’re guessing nothing will stop her more than 20 years later.

France's Mathilde Gross

🇫🇷 Mathilde Gross

Winner of last year's Sprint World Championship, Mathilde is hungry for more. If that includes another final against Lea Sophie Friedrich, we’ll definitely be watching!

Don’t Miss Out!

Join us in The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome as new legends are carved into the 250m Siberian timber track and 4000 fans transform the arena into a cauldron of noise from the first lap to the final sprint.