Faster riders might try to swoop down the banked track to gain a little extra acceleration, but such moves are just as likely to be a crafty feint designed to panic their rival into attacking sooner than they want to. Sometimes riders will come to almost a complete halt, known as a track stand, in an attempt to lure their rivals through to the front or blunt their impending acceleration with a standing start.
Amid all this cat-and-mouse riders also have to contend with the difficulty of controlling the bike on the banked track. On the straights the bike will want to drop down below the black line that marks the edge of the track, while a fast ride through the curves will see the bike trying to rise up the banking. Expert bike handling is required to prevent the inner bike from veering dangerously into the path of the outer rider, and it’s not unusual for fast riders to be disqualified because their bike control isn’t as refined as their speed.
- The Team Sprint
The Team Sprint, on the other hand, is all about power. Raced over two laps for the women and three for the men, each rider takes it in turn to do a single lap at the front at the very highest speed they can manage. As the teams aren’t racing head to head, tactics take a back seat to strength. It’s an unforgiving event in which victory is decided by a few hundredths of a second, so there’s no chance to recover from error or ride at anything less than your desperate best.