Olympics news

With a little over two years to go before the London Olympics the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) has finally confirmed the format for the omnium.

The event was introduced to the Olympic track programme last year during the shake-up that brought equality across men's and women's track events. The omnium - for men and women - came in along with the women's keirin, team sprint and team pursuit in place of the individual pursuits, points races, and men's Madison.

The omnium now becomes a six discipline event run over two days, with longer races that swing the advantage back in the favour of endurance riders. This format will be run at the world championships and the Olympics, although there is still no clarification of whether or not the omnium will be run at the world cups for the all important qualification points.

According to the new track racing regulations on the UCI's website the omnium will consist of six events and will be held over two days, in the following order.

1 - Flying lap (tt)

2 - Points race (men: 30km, women: 20km)

3 - Elimination race

4 - Individual pursuit (men: 4,000m, women: 3,000m)

5 - Scratch race

6 - Kilometre tt (men), 500m tt (women)

The elimination race, also known as the Devil takes the hindmost, sees the last rider across the line taken out of the race. In the UCI's new format this will happen every two laps and carry on until only two riders are left on the track. They will then contest the finish.

In what has been the biggest shake-up in track racing for years, the continental championships now carry qualification points for the new 'UCI Olympic track rankings', which is the one single Olympic qualification system. The problem for the European nations is that the European track championships is currently an under 23 event.

What's more, the 2010 European track championships, that were supposed to take place in Appledorn in the Netherlands, have been cancelled due to financial problems. The 2011 world championships that take place in Appledorn are apparently not in danger.

Britain's Ed Clancy won the omnium at this year's world track championships in Copenhagen, although it's unlikely he will represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in this event. Lizzie Armitstead remains the most likely British candidate for the women's omnium.

Related links

Further changes to Olympic track cycling hit sprinting nations

Cycling Weekly's 2010 track world championships coverage

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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers. 

Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!


Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace

TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars

Gravel bike: N/A

Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel