Explanation of Olympic Track Cycling: Omnium


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Finals: August 5 (men), August 8 (women)

How it works: The Open is a points-based competition that features four different group races (everyone starts together), each awarding points for a final rider ranking. The four peloton races are: Scratch Race, Tempo Race, Elimination Race and Points Race.

The Open begins with a basic Scratch Race (10 km for men, 7.5 km for women) where the first rider to cross the line wins. The next stage is a Tempo race (same distances), where after four laps the riders sprint for points on each lap, and a rider who goes around the peloton gets 20 points, and the riders who are let go and overtaken by the peloton lose 20 points.

The third race is the elimination race, which has sprints every two laps, and after each sprint, the last runner to cross the line is eliminated. The race continues until there is only one runner left.

The last event is the points race (25 km men, 20 km women) awards points every 10 laps to the first four riders on the line (5, 3, 2 and 1 point) and these points are doubled for the final sprint . Running around the field earns a runner 20 points and teams that are passed lose 20 points.

After these four events, the cumulative points of the runners crown the medalists.

To monitor : You could study the Open for years and still be upset by this complex event as riders tackle different strategies in each event to try and earn the most points overall. For the Olympics, all four events take place on one day, so the best runners need to have a mix of sprinting power and endurance. Often times it’s a road sprinter who excels at this event, due to the mix of strategy, endurance and punch. Watch for a runner who jumps to an early victory, then carefully rides through the remaining events. For Scratch and Points races, the best sprinters will try to keep the peloton together, while the more enduring runners will start and circle the peloton. In Elimination and Tempo races, runners will simply run on touch and then trigger their sprints after trying to conserve energy between laps.

Favorite men: Benjamin Thomas (France), Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) Jan-Willem van Schip (Netherlands), Matthew Walls (Great Britain)

Favorite women: Letizia Paternoster (Italy), Yumi Kajihara (Japan), Kristen Wild (Netherlands), Annette Edmondson (Australia)

North Americans: Jennifer Valente (United States), Alison Beveridge (Canada), Gavin Hoover (United States)


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