The Omnium

15 Oct

You’ve probably heard the controversy regarding the omnium, a track cycling race event which will be introduced in the 2012 Olympics to replace the Individual Pursuit, the Points Race, and the Madison. This change was met with overwhelmingly negative response but it can’t be all that bad right?

An Omnium is a multiple race event in track cycling in which all contestants compete against each other in six different disciplines. The omnium can be considered the event which determines the best all-round track cyclist as the disciplines feature both sprint events and endurance events. The ultimate sprinter or the rider with the best condition is unlikely to win the omnium. The one that has the ability to combine and be competitive in both styles of disciplines is the rider who is most likely to win the event. Normally the omnium suits endurance riders with higher top speed or stronger sprints, or sprinters who can do longer distance track events. It is also carefully balanced between 3 time trials and 3 mass start events.

The omnium consists of the following disciplines, in order:

  • A flying lap time trial of 250m.
  • A points race of 30km for men and 20km for women.
  • An elimination race of 48 laps (assuming 24 competitors).
  • An individual pursuit of 4km for men and 3km for women with the riders seeded on how they finished in the scratch race.
  • A scratch race of 15km for men and 10km for women (or the closest number of laps to that distance).
  • A 1km time trial for men and a 500m time trial for women.

Points are rewarded in reverse order. The rider who finishes first in an event receives one point, the second rider will get two points and so on. The rider with the fewest points after all events is the omnium overall winner. When two riders are tied on points the combined time of the 3 time trials will make the difference between the riders. A rider needs to have ridden and completed every event in the omnium.

Omnium was introduced into the World Championships for men in 2007 and for women, with 10 km points race and 500m time trial, in 2009. The omnium was changed in 2010 by the UCI to include a elimination race in 2010 and the distances of the events were lengthened to favor endurance cyclists.

The omnium event for London 2012 will comprise six disciplines:

  • Flying lap (250-metre time trial)
  • Points race (30km for men, 20km for women)
  • Individual pursuit (4km for men, 3km for women)
  • Scratch race (15km for men, 10km for women)
  • Kilometre time trial (500m for women)
  • Elimination race

There will be 24 competitors in the omnium events. The individual pursuit races will be held over the full World Championship distance, which preserves the event but will highlight some of the slower times. The elimination race will see the 24 riders race as a bunch. Every two laps the last rider over the line will be eliminated. The UCI hopes its inclusion will make more exciting viewing for a television audience.

(from the Wiki)

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