Jargon buster: What do the painted lines on a velodrome mean?

Jargon buster: What do the painted lines on a velodrome mean?

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Ever wondered what the coloured lines on a velodrome mean? We run through them all, so you can impress your mates at a taster session.

The apron is the flat area between the infield and the track. This area is where you will start to ride before progressing onto the boards and is often painted concrete. It's therefore advisable only to ride on this surface at low speeds as it lacks grip and can cause an embarrassing spill.

The cote d'azur is the start of the velodrome proper. Light blue painted boards signal the edge of the track. This area is marked off by foams in time-trial events like the individual pursuit, which stops riders taking a shorter route around the track and gaining an advantage.

The black line - also known as the datum line - is 20cm above the cote d'azur and denotes the length of the track; 250-metres for an Olympic standard facility. Riders will try to stay glued to the black as they seek to find the shortest and therefore fastest way to cover the distance.

The red line - also known as the sprinter's line - is 70cm above the black line and exists for rules to be implemented in competition. In a sprint, if the lead rider is in the sprinters' channel (between the black and red line), the challenger must come around them and can only cross their path once the overtake is complete. As the overtake is being made, the lead rider cannot come out of the sprinters' channel. Breaking these rules will lead to relegation.

The blue line - also known as the stayer's line - is for use in Madison races. The resting riders will circulate above the blue until they are handslung back into action.