The Tokyo 2020 track cycling begins in Izu on Monday. Here, Sportsmail columnist and three-time Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy - who is competing in the team pursuit - talks you through the different events and his team-mates…KEIRIN
Up to six riders follow a pace motorcycle – called a derny - for the first three of six laps and then sprint to the finish.
Clancy says: ‘You have six weightlifters, big angry men and women, following a motorbike round with the idea that when they start the sprint, they are all absolutely fresh and ready to go. Then you get 20 to 25 seconds of absolute chaos.
‘It is an exciting event to watch because there are guys and girls who have put four to five years of training into an event that not only gets decided in 20 seconds or so, but is also a big roll of the dice.
The Tokyo 2020 track cycling competition will get underway in Izu on Monday
‘You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time. You are trying to pre-empt other people’s strategies and positioning. There are many ways you can win a keirin but there is no real obvious one.
‘In 2012, we saw Chris Hoy just get on the front and lead them out but that isn’t going to get it done these days. You’ve got to be canny, hold people up, push people high on the track, and it’s always chaos.
‘The keirin is huge in Japan. It’s like horseracing in Britain, but even bigger. Keirin is the way they gamble out there and there will be a massive focus on it in Tokyo.’MADISON
Teams of two riders take turns in a tag team points race, with points awarded for lapping the field and for sprints every 10 laps.
Clancy says: ‘There is a lot of history and heritage with it. Big six-day madison events around Europe attract big crowds. It’s not an easy event to follow but it is worth investing a bit of time and watching it closely.
‘It’s very dangerous and it’s highly tactical. You can go for a big heroic lap take or you can keep chipping away on the sprint laps.
The Madison sees teams of two riders take turns in a tag team points race
'You’ve got to look around and see what the other strong teams are doing. It’s almost like a game of chess.
‘There are a lot of different pieces on the board that are all moving around at different points in time. And you are trying to do that game of chess whilst you are riding at 99 per cent for an hour.
‘If you are having a bad day in the madison, you will just take a kicking from start to finish and get a result that reflects that at the end.’OMNIUM
Multiple-race event. Scratch race is where riders race over 30 to 40 laps to be the first to finish. The tempo race sees points awarded for winning each lap or lapping the field. In the elimination race, the last-placed rider is knocked out every two laps. The points race sees points earned for sprints every 10 laps or for lapping the field.
Clancy says: ‘From the very first race, you’ve got to be thinking about where your opposition is. It’s not that bad getting a terrible result as long as you are with your opposition.
‘The elimination race, that is just chaos. It is an event in itself. There are crashes and near misses. ‘There’s only one good place to be in that race and that’s in second wheel and everyone wants to be in second wheel. You don’t want to be at the front and you definitely don’t want to be at the back.
‘The omnium comes down to a big points race at the end which is more heavily weighted than the other events. Much like the madison, you’ve got to play that game of chess right when you are already knyeackered from previous events and you are riding your bike round the velodrome for the best part of 45 minutes flat out.’TEAM PURSUIT
A 4km race between two teams of four riders starting on opposite sides of the track.
Clancy says: ‘It’s four riders, four minutes. You need every single rider to be on form. It’s a bit like a house of cards. If it goes well, it’s a beautiful thing. If you take out one card, the whole thing will come crumbling down.
‘It is not just four riders taking their brains out and going flat out. There is a real art to pace judgement.