Track Cycling has been included in every Olympic Games since 1896, with the exception of the 1912 Games in Stockholm. Historically, the sport dates back to 1870 in England where large crowds would gather to watch riders compete on indoor wooden tracks, very similar to the velodromes of today. 

Qualifying - TOKYO 2020

Qualification to secure spots at the Olympic Games is based around the number of qualifying points earned in the 2 years prior to the Games, at the UCI World Cups, World Championships and other qualifying events for track cycling.

The 15-strong track cycling team for the Games has been named with a mixture of new and experienced riders taking to the track.

The athletes are:

Women – Endurance:

  • Bryony Botha – Team Pursuit, Madison (reserve)
  • Rushlee Buchanan – Team Pursuit, Madison
  • Holly Edmonston – Team Pursuit, Omnium
  • Jessie Hodges – Madison, Omnium (reserve), Team Pursuit (reserve)
  • Kirstie James – Team Pursuit, Sprint (TBC)
  • Jamie Nielsen – Team Pursuit


  • Ellesse Andrews – Keirin, Sprint

Men – Endurance:

  • Aaron Gate – Team Pursuit, Madison (TBC), Omnium (TBC)
  • Regan Gough – Team Pursuit
  • Jordan Kerby – Team Pursuit
  • Campbell Stewart – Team Pursuit, Madison (TBC), Omnium (TBC)
  • Corbin Strong – Team Pursuit, Madison (TBC), Omnium (TBC)


  • Sam Dakin – Team Sprint – Keirin
  • Ethan Mitchell – Team Sprint, Sprint
  • Sam Webster – Team Sprint, Sprint, Keirin

Travelling Reserves:

  • Callum Saunders – Sprint
  • Nick Kergozou - Endurance


One female rider is to be selected as a travelling reserve for the team.


competition - tokyo 2020

The track cycling competition runs between 2-8 August at the Izu Velodrome, Shizuoka Prefecture. With Madison races being added for the Tokyo 2020 Program, the New Zealand Team will be competing in six medal events:


  1. Team Pursuit - qualifying is on a time trial basis, with the fastest teams qualifying for the knock-out elimination rounds through to a final for gold and silver and a ride-off for bronze. It is ridden over 4000m with teams of four riders. If one team catches the other then they automatically win. While both men and women have four riders, their time is recorded when the third rider crosses the line.


  1. Omnium – The Omnium tests the all-round ability of each rider with three sprint and three endurance events across two days.  Day One- scratch race (bunch race with winner the first over the line), individual pursuit (4000m for men and 3000m for women – all on time trial) and elimination race (sprint every two laps with last rider eliminated down to the final two riders). Day Two - time trial (1000m for men and 500m for women), flying lap (time trial one lap) and finishing with the points race (points every 10 laps with 20 point bonus for lapping the field).

    Overall placings are determined based on highest number of points gained across all of the events. With a lot of points up for grabs in the points race, overall placings can change markedly.


  1. Madison – teams of two race each other with one rider from each team racing at a time. Riders are required to switch off during the race by means of a ‘hand sling’ where the racer exchanges momentum with their partner before moving above the blue line to circle and recover before the next effort.



  1. Team Sprint- teams with the fastest times in the preliminary rounds (heats) qualify through to elimination match racing (first over the line wins) for the semi-finals, leading to a final for gold and silver and a ride-off for bronze. The men’s team will consist of three riders, riding three laps (750m). After the first lap, the first rider peels off and plays no further part in the race. After the second lap, the second rider also pulls off, leaving just one rider to complete the race. Women’s races follow the same format but consist of two-person teams in a 500m race.


  1. Individual Sprint– fiercely competitive and combining chess-like tactics with explosive speed the sprint is not to be missed! Qualification for this race is by 200m flying lap with the fastest 18 progressing to a series of knock-out rounds leading to quarter-finals, semis and the final. These latter rounds are ridden on a best-of-three basis.

    As riders progress through the knock-out rounds they become more evenly matched in terms of top speed, placing even more importance on tactics. It is common to see riders slowly circle the track in the early laps, each trying to force the other into a position from which they can launch a surprise sprint to the finish line.


  1. Keirin– The Keirin race is easily recognised as the one with the motorbike! Riders complete a series of laps behind a single motorbike pacer (the Derny) before sprinting the last two-and-a-half laps to the finish line. As the race progresses the Derny will gradually increase the pace and riders will compete for the position behind it, riders must not pass the Derny until it pulls off the track.
    The races will consist of heats, repechage and second round races leading to the gold medal final.


The Stars of Cycling

Six of the riders making up the 15-strong Tokyo 2020 team are returning to the Olympic arena, having competed in the Rio 2016 Games. Aaron Gate, Ethan Mitchell, Rushlee Buchanan and Jamie Nielsen are returning to compete in their third Olympic Games after their debuts at the London 2012 Games.


NZ Olympic Medals

1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze


2004 Athens - Women’s 3000m Individual Pursuit (Sarah Ulmer)


2008 Beijing - Men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit (Hayden Roulston)


1992 Barcelona - Men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit (Gary Anderson)

2008 Beijing - Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit (Jesse Sergent, Westley Gough), (Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan, Hayden Roulston)

2012 London - Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit (Jesse Sergent, Westley Gough, Sam Bewley) (Marc Ryan, Aaron Gate)

2012 London - Men’s Keirin (Simon van Velthooven)


Cycling Terminology

Draft: To ride closely behind a competitor, saving energy by using that racer as a windbreak.

Flyer:  A surprise attack, usually by a solo rider.

Peloton: The main group of riders; also called the pack, bunch or field.

Pole line: The innermost line on the velodrome surface used to measure the length of the track; also called the measuring line.

Repechage: A round (usually in sprint competitions) in which losers of previous heats race against each other to gain re-entry into the competition.

Sprinter’s line: A red line which marks the outside edge of the sprinter’s lane.

Time trial: A race in which riders start individually and race against the clock.



1817 - First bicycle introduced as a mode of transport in Germany.

1891 - First major competition event (Paris-Brest-Paris) held. Soon after velodromes were built in many cities throughout Europe, the USA and Japan.

1896 - Cycling was included in the first modern Olympic Games and has been at every summer Olympic Games since.

2012 - Women competed in the same full programme of events as men for the first time at the London Olympic Games.

2020 - The Madision event has been added to the rack Cycling programme at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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Cycling - Track Games History