Olympic Omnium Format Announced

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2012 Olympic Omnium Format Announced

Posted: 18th December 2009 | Source: UCI Press Services

On 17th December 2009, the UCI issued the following statement, giving more details on the new-look, spectator-friendly Omnium event which will form the centrepiece of the 2012 Oympic track cycling programme.

Following the announcement made by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on 10 December concerning changes to the Olympic track cycling programme for the 2012 London Games, the UCI Track Commission has redefined the format of the omnium. The objective is to make this event more attractive to the public and to place more emphasis on endurance compared with the format used at the last three World Championships.

On this basis, the UCI can now announce the details of the omnium format to be used at the next Olympic Games:

  • Flying lap (250-metre time trial)
  • Points race (men: 30 km, women: 20 km)
  • Individual pursuit (men: 4 km, women: 3 km)
  • Scratch race (men: 15 km, women: 10 km)
  • Kilometre time trial (men), 500-metre time trial (women)
  • Elimination race (24 starters)

The flying lap is not completely new, as a flying 200 metres is traditionally used for qualification in the individual sprint. However, the distance of 250 metres is an innovation.

The points race will be run over the same distance as at World Cup meetings. The individual pursuit, one of the iconic endurance specialities, will also maintain its traditional distances. The scratch race, a new addition to the Olympic scene as part of the omnium, will be run over longer distances than previously, equivalent to traditional scratch race distances.

The kilometre (standing start) is the only event that is not traditionally held during Six-Day races for endurance riders. Because of this, it will be a decisive component of the omnium. Finally, 24 riders will compete in an elimination race. Every two laps, the last rider over the finish line will be eliminated.

The omnium, after the World Championships in Copenhagen (24-28 March 2010), will thus be made up of the four endurance and two sprint events described. It will be held over two days in a sequence to be defined.

The omnium is one of the five events of the Olympic track cycling programme together with the individual sprint, team sprint, keirin and team pursuit. An equal number of medals will be awarded to men and women in track cycling at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

British Cycling's President Brian Cookson welcomed the news: "I think this is a bold and exciting move from the UCI and I fully support it. It keeps all the classic disciplines alive and adds an exciting new format. In my view, the omnium will in time be recognised as the blue riband of track events, covering as it does such a wide range of skills."

Shane Sutton, British Cycling's Performance Manager, said: "The Olympics is all about big challenges and it's not supposed to be easy. The Omnium and the events it contains will challenge us for sure , but preparations are going well and we are all up for it."