Major cycling competitions

GBR Track cycling
Track Cycling
The UCI Track World Championships for men and women offers individual and team championships in several track cycling disciplines. The main ones being:
Olympic Games
Held every four years as part of the summer Olympics. There are currently 10 events in the Olympics, less than appear in the World Championship. 7 of these events are for men while only 3 are for women.
As with other Olympic events the winner of each event is Olympic Champion and gold medal winner, while second and third places receive silver and bronze. At the most recent Olympics in China in 2008, Great Britain were the most successful nation in track cycling. They won 7 out of the ten events and also won several silver and bronze medals. Chris Hoy won three gold medals while Bradley Wiggins won two. The next summer Olympics are in London in 2012.
UCI Track World Championships
Held every year, usually in March or April at the end of the winter track season. There are currently 17 events in the World Championships, 9 for men and 8 for women. Qualification places are determined by different countries performance during the World Cup Classic series held through the season (see below).
The winner of each event wins the title of world champion and the gold medal. They are presented with the world champions rainbow jersey. This is a white jersey with rainbow stripes across the centre and can be won with pride by the winner whenever they compete in that event over the coming year. Second and third placed riders win the silver and bronze medals. The last World Championship in the UK were held in Manchester in March 2008, the 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. The home nation of Great Britain finished as the most successful nation in these championships. They won 9 of the 17 events and also several silver and bronze medals. Bradley Wiggins took three world titles while Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton won two titles each. The next championships will be held in Poland in March 2009. The last championship took place at the BGŻ Arena in Pruszków, Poland from 25 to 29 March 2009. Nineteen events were on the programme, with the women's omnium added to the eighteen events contested at the 2008 championships.
Great Britain failed to live up to expectations following their outstanding performances in the 2008 championships, and the Beijing Olympics bringing home only two gold medals out of a total of nine medals. Australia topped the medal table with four gold medals.
In the Men's events, both Alex Rasmussen of Denmark and Grégory Bauge of France took home two gold medals while Australian Cameron Meyer took home a gold and two silver medals. For the women both Victoria Pendleton and Elizabeth Armitstead of Great Britain won three medals in three events; a gold, a silver, and a bronze with Simona Krupeckaitė of Lithuania also winning three medals; a gold and two bronzes.
UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics
The World Cup Classics series consists of 5 events for 2008, previously 4, held in different countries throughout the world during the winter track cycling season. These meeting include all of the 17 events that take place in a World Championship and are usually spread over three days.
Events won and points scored by the riders throughout this series count towards qualification places for their nation in the World Championships at the end of the season. The overall leader in each event wears the points leaders jersey at each race, with the overall winner at the end of the season keeping the jersey and wearing it at the World Championships. Riders compete for their own country or as part of a sponsored trade team at these events. Therefore it is possible for a number of teams from one country to compete at each event.
As World Championship qualification is at stake, the events do attract a top field of riders. However it is common for top riders not to compete at all the events of the series, with teams/countries often using the events to field younger riders or attempt different line ups at some events. Top riders can still win the series, or obtain good a placing for qualification points for their country, without competing at every event.
The first event of the 2008/2009 season took place in Manchester in October/November 2008. The event, on the back of Britain's recent World Championship and Olympic success, was a complete sell out. Great Britain dominated this meeting, winning 14 of the 17 events.
The first event of the 2009/2010 season will again be in Manchester, from 30 October to 1 November. The event's website is
Track records
In addition to regular track racing, tracks are also the venue for many cycling records. These are over either a fixed distance or for a fixed period of time. The most famous of these is the hour record, which involves simply riding as far as possible in one hour. The history of the hour record is replete with exploits by some of the greatest names in cycling from both road and track racing (including, among others, Major Taylor, Henri Desgrange, Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Miguel Indurain and Tony Rominger). Originally, attempts were made at velodromes with reputations for being fast (such as the Velodromo Vigorelli in Milan). More recently, attempts have moved to high-altitude locations, such as Mexico City, where the thinner air results in lower aerodynamic drag, which more than offsets the added difficulty of breathing. Innovations in equipment and the rider's position on the bike have also led to dramatic improvements in the hour record, but have also been a source of controversy, like Graeme Obree’s known for his unusual riding positions and for a bicycle he built which included parts from a washing machine. The world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale grew concerned that changes to bicycles were making a disproportionate improvement to track records. Among other measures, it banned his riding position: he did not find out until one hour before he began the world championship pursuit in Italy. Judges disqualified him when he refused to comply. The magazine Cycling Weekly blamed "petty-minded officialdom."
Obree developed another riding position, the Superman style, his arms fully extended in front, and he won the world pursuit championship with this and Old Faithful in 1995. That position was also banned. The bike is in the Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh.