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

Get to know the Omnium for the Glasgow 2023 World Championships

Maria Martins of Portugal (C) competes during Tissot UCI Track World Championship Women's Omnium - Elimination Race
(Image credit: Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

The revamped Omnium is a one-day event at the Glasgow 2023 Track World Championships with a focus on endurance events over the four-race-long discipline. The men's event takes place on Saturday, 6 August and the women's takes place on the final day on Tuesday, 9 August.

Glasgow 2023 cycling: OMNIUM

The Omnium sees individual riders take part in multiple events that take place over one day.

The defending champions are Jennifer Valente of the United States in the women's event, and Aaron Gate of New Zealand in the men's equivalent.

Other top competitors will include Katie Archibald of Great Britain and Clara Coponni of France for the women, and GB's Ollie Wood and Benjamin Thomas of France for the women.

Originally, the Omnium was a six-race event, which included the Scratch Race, Individual Pursuit, Elimination Race, 1km Time Trial, Flying Lap, and Points Race.

However, since 2016, the format has changed to remove the timed events and focus on the Scratch, Elimination and Points races as well as the inclusion of the Tempo race. All these events are mass participation, and favour endurance riders.

The Scratch is the first round and is takes on 10km for the men and 7.5km for the women. It is a mass participation event with every rider taking part in the Omnium racing, almost like a road race in a velodrome. 

The first rider across the line wins, simple.

The second event in the Omnium is the Tempo race. The races last for 10km in the men's race and 7.5km in the women's. This has a similar format to the Madison except riders do not team-up. 

Just one point is awarded to the first rider to cross the line each lap from the end of the fifth lap. However, if a rider gains a lap, they will take 20 points. On the flip side, if they lose a lap they will lose 20 points. Simple, right?

The third event is the Elimination Race. Every two laps from the start there is a sprint, the last rider to cross the line is eliminated leaving a handful of riders to sprint for the line in the final lap. This favours riders with nerves of steel and the craftiness to be able to not use too much energy.

Bringing the Omnium to a close is the points race. 

To make it sound as simple as possible, the race is a long one, 25km for the men and 20km for the women. There is a sprint every 10 laps with five, three, two, and one points available each time for the top four riders, and then 10, six, four, and two points at the finish.

Much like in the Tempo race, riders are awarded 20 points when taking a lap and deducted 20 for losing one. This is the main way of gaining points on rivals and often can swing the whole event on its head in the final few laps.

The winner of the Omnium medals is determined by who has the highest scores after the final event. In the unlikely event of a tie the Points race final sprint placings decide who takes the medal home. 

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.