Glasgow 2023 Track World Championships: What is the Madison and how does it work?

Get to know the madison for the Glasgow 2023 Track World Championships

Belgian Shari Bossuyt and Belgian Lotte Kopecky pictured in action during the women's Madison race on day four of the UCI Track World Championships, at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France, Saturday 15 October 2022
(Image credit: BENOIT DOPPAGNE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Making its return at the Glasgow 2023 World Championships, the Madison is a popular event in the velodrome and has attracted some of the biggest names in cycling to compete over the years. The events will take place between August 7 and 8.

Glasgow 2023 cycling: MADISON

The Madison sees teams of two take to the track in a mass rolling start. Each team must have just one rider racing at one time though with the riders performing a hand sling to throw their team-mate into the action for a lap or two while the other rests.

The aim is to take more laps than your opponents by pushing out in front either on your own or with other teams to then get back to the rear of the leading main bunch. This can become confusing as often races can be split all over the track and some may think they have made the lap but in fact need to make it through another group of riders.

If you take a lap you gain 20 points on your rivals with riders who lose a lap getting a deduction of 20 points. 

It isn't all about laps though as the riders also have to battle for sprint points too. This could be decisive if riders are tied on laps at the end of the race. If they are level after this then it will be based on where the riders placed in the final sprint.

The sprint points available are five, three, two and one point(s) with a whistle blown to indicate that the lap is a sprint lap. A bell will ring for the start of the final lap of the race. Sprint points are doubled on the final lap.

Riders who are racing should stay as close to the bottom of the track as possible and rider changes should also happen low on the track below the 'stayers line' on the track. This is the zone between the black and red lines in the bottom half of the track.

The change is often a hand-sling but a push is also allowed if the former is not possible.

Once a rider has done the rider should move as high up on the track as they can to avoid disrupting the racing below them.

If one of the two riders in a team suffers a mechanical or crashes they will be allowed to rejoin the race but it must be within two laps. This will leave the other rider on their own. Sometimes the chief commissaire will pair the rider off with another team.

The current world champions are Lotte Kopecky and Shari Bossuyt of Belgium in the women's event and Donavan Grondin and Benjamin Thomas of France in the men's.

The race is named after the first event in Madison Square Garden in New York but is known by different names around the world. In France, it is known as the Course à l'Américaine and as Americana in Spain and Italy.

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