Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Points race

The points race is a track cycling event involving large numbers of riders simultaneously on track.

In this long-distance event, at regular intervals (typically every 5 or 10 laps of the velodrome) points are awarded to the first few finishers. The winner of the race is the person who accumulates the most points by its finish.

Because a large group of riders has an aerodynamic advantage over rider on their own or in a small group, races typically proceed with most riders staying in a large bunch and then sprinting at each point-scoring interval (often assisted by teammates, who expend energy to aerodynamically "tow" their colleagues to the front of the pack, then peeling off to let them sprint for the line). However, the points race also offers opportunities for riders who cannot sprint as fast but can maintain a high speed for some distance, as they (either individually or in small groups) attempt to break away from the main field and gain a whole lap advantage on them, where they can sit back in the main bunch and win every sprint without effort.

With so many competing riders on a relatively small track all sticking closely together to gain optimum aerodynamic advantage, crashes are not uncommon.