Women's Team Pursuit in the starting blocks

Women's Team Pursuit in the starting blocks. Credit" Australian Cycling Team

Track Cycling will be a key sport for Australia's medal hopes at Tokyo 2020, after a disappointing Rio 2016 on the velodrome.

There are six events for Track Cycling at Tokyo 2020. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

The Team Sprint and Team Pursuit receive top billing within Track cycling. However, the other team event the Madison is a spectacular two-rider relay with the greatest team transition in sports.

The three individual events are the Omnium, an all-around challenge, the Kierin, a short sprint after riding behind a motorbike, and the Sprint, the fastest show on two wheels.


Great Britain had a dominant performance at Rio 2016, with 4 of the 5 men’s medals, and 2 gold and 3 other medals in the women’s.

Australia has named its teams into sprint and endurance categories, but have not yet specified which riders will compete in which individual events.

The Team Pursuit

The Team Pursuit is a 4000m race around the velodrome, with teams of four riders swapping turns at the front, as they all ride in a super aerodynamic position. In Rio 2016, both gold medals were won with Olympic records.

Australia had a strong performance, with the silver medal in the team pursuit at Rio 2016 in the Men’s. Sam Welsford is the only returning member of the men’s team and will be joined by Leigh Howard, and young guns Kelland O’Brien, Lucas Plapp and Alexander Porter.

The Women’s team pursuit will be hoping to bounce back after finishing fifth in Rio 2016. Annette Edmondson is back to spearhead the team at her third Olympics and will be joined by the returning Ashlee Ankundinoff and Georgia Baker, and debutants Alexandra Manly and Maeve Plouff.

The Team Sprint

The Team Sprint is a 3 lap (men’s) or 2 lap (women’s) race, where each rider must lead for one of the laps, before dropping off the course. It’s a rapid race, with the final rider generally being the final rider from each team on the track.

Australia finished fourth in the men’s at Rio 2016, just 0.153 seconds off the pace for bronze. Matthew Glaetzer (London 2012 and Rio 2016) and Nathan Hart (Rio 2016) return from that team, joined by promising young gun Matthew Richardson.

Australia also finished fourth in the women’s at Rio 2016, falling a devastating 0.022 seconds from Bronze. Neither Anna Meares nor Stephanie Morton returns from that pairing, with Kaarle McCulloch leading the sprint team. Stephanie Morton was named in 2020, but it is not been confirmed who will replace her after her retirement in November 2020.


The Madison has been added to the Tokyo 2020 program returning after being on the men’s program between 2000 and 2008. It is one of the most spectacular races in Track Cycling, where one member of the team races and the other member of the team rides along the top of the velodrome, before being slung by hand into the race. The winner of the Madison is the team that completes more laps than any other team.

The Australian Olympic Team has not confirmed who from the endurance teams will compete in the Madison.


The Omnium is track cycling’s equivalent of all-around gymnastics. Broken down into six disciplines, each rider competes and is awarded points based on their finishing position in each event. The winner is the rider with the highest aggregate score.

The six disciplines are scratch race (15km/10km race), individual pursuit (4km/3km chase between two riders, with placing determined by time), elimination race (last in every second lap is eliminated), a time trial (1km/500m time trial, with placing determined by time), a flying lap (250m individual race with a flying start) and a points race (a 40km/20km race, where points are awarded for intermediate sprints and lapping the field).

In Rio 2016, Australian Glenn O’Shea placed seventh, and Elia Viviani of Italy winning gold, Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) silver, and Lasse Hansen (Denmark) bronze.

For the women, Aussie Annette Edmondson finished 8th at Rio, with Laura Trott (Great Britain), Sarah hammer (USA) and Jolien D’Joore (Belgium) taking the medals.

More Tokyo 2020 News

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The Kieren involves 5.5 laps of the track behind a motorcycle, followed by a 2.5 lap sprint to the finish. Races are ridden with six riders, with three rounds, before a final.

Anna Meares finished third in the Kieren at Rio 2016, behind Elise Ligtlee (Netherlands) and Becky James (Great Britain).

In 2016, Jason Kenny of Great Britain won gold, ahead of Matthijs Buchli (Netherland) and Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia).


The Sprint is a best of three series, where riders compete to be first across the line. It’s a race known for riders coming to a literal standstill in an attempt to gain the rear position, considered favourable for slipstreaming the rider in front.

In 2016, Jason Kenny of Great Britain defended his London 2012 gold, ahead of teammate Callum Skinner. Denis Dmitriev (Russia) defeated Matthew Glaetzer in the bronze medal sprint.

In 2016, Kristina Vogel won gold for Germany, ahead of Becky James. Katy Marchant (Great Britain) finished in third.

Full Australian Team

Alexandra ManlyDebutWomen’s Endurance
Ashlee AnkudinoffSecond Games (Rio 2016)Women’s Endurance
Georgia BakerSecond Games (Rio 2016)Women’s Endurance
Annette EdmondsonThird Games (London 2012, Rio 2016)
Bronze Medal – Women’s Omnium (2012)
Women’s Endurance
Matthew GlaetzerThird Games (London 2012, Rio 2016)Men’s Sprint
Nathan HartSecond Games (Rio 2016)Men’s Endurance
Leigh HowardDebutMen’s Endurance
Kaarle McCullochSecond Games (London 2012)
Bronze Medal – Team Sprint
Women’s Sprint
Kelland O’BrienDebutMen’s Endurance
Lucas PlappDebutMen’s Endurance
Maeve PlouffeDebutWomen’s Endurance
Alexander PorterDebutMen’s Endurance
Matthew RichardsonDebutMen’s Sprint
Sam WelshfordSecond Games (Rio 2016)
Bronze Medal – Team Pursuit
Men’s Endurance

The track cycling commences on 2 August and will conclude on 8 August.

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