Track cycling today

Racing on the track is popular in Europe today, mainly in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Australia and New Zealand, as well as China and Japan, also have a rich track racing tradition. Most tracks these days measure 250m long and are made from strips of wood. They have two straights and two banked turns. In the Low Countries the track in known as the piste, and the riders pistiers. There are always two types of riders which attend track races, the skinnier riders, and the riders with legs like tree trunks. These different physiques reflect the two bike racing disciplines which take place on the track: endurance and sprint. German rider Robert Förstemann has the most famous sprinter’s legs in the business at the moment. They have earned him the nickname: Quadzilla. Most sprints on the track take eight to 10 laps in total, and often reach their climax in the final and blisteringly fast lap. These riders will not enter the endurance events.

track cycling

Robert ‘Quadzilla’ Forstemann got his nickname for a reason… Credit: Getty Images

Successful Dutch professional Niki Terpstra always rides on the track in winter. He is often seen in the six-day events and is an endurance guy. The winners of six-day events are duos. Two riders form a team and rack up points throughout the events, which are ridden over six days (well, nights actually) with final races often ending after midnight.

track cycling

Terpstra racing in the Rotterdam Six-Day race. Credit: Getty Images