The velodrome layout
A velodrome is a sporting arena purpose-built for track cycling.
Modern velodromes feature steeply banked tracks, consisting of two 180-degree bends connected by two straights. The corner bankings are designed so that the bicycles naturally follow the track at a constant radial position. This allows the riders to concentrate on matters such as race tactics rather than steering their bicycles.
Indoor velodromes are used for top flight competitions and big events such as the Olympics. These offer shelter against wind, rain and adverse weather conditions.
The track length is measured on a special line 20 cm up from the inside of the track. Olympic standard velodromes are minimum 250 metres in circumference. Velodromes can range from 150 m to 500 m, but 333.33 m is also popular. The length of the track multiplied by a round number of laps or half laps should result in 1.000 m. Many older tracks were built around the outside of athletics tracks or other sports grounds and any banking on these was usually quite shallow. The smaller the track the steeper the banking. A 250 m track would bank in a range around 45° and a 333 m track would bank in a range around 32°. Tracks are surfaced in wood or smooth concrete. Short and Olympic tracks are mostly in wood and the long tracks in concrete.
All tracks must have a standard set of markings. These are as described below.
Blue band “ côte d’azur “
The blue band is between the infield and the actual track. This is a minimum of 10% of the track width wide. The blue band is not an official part of the track. Riders moving into this space in a race whilst attempting to make a “shortcut” are disqualified.
Black measurement and red sprinters lines
The measurement line is a black line 20 cm above the inside of the track. 90 cm above the inside of the track is the red sprinter’s line. The zone between the black and red lines is the optimum route around the track. A rider leading in this zone cannot be passed on the inside, other riders are regulated to pass on the longer outside route.
Blue stayers’ line
The blue stayers line is used in stayer races. These are held behind pacemaker motorbikes. This line is a minimum of 250 cm (or half the track width) above the inside of the track. Stayer-riders riding below the blue stayer line may not be overtaken at the inside. In Madison races (name deriving from races held in the Madison Square Garden, NY) the released team riders usually recover above the blue line cycling slowly until the team mate in the race comes around the track and pushes or slings the idle-partner back into the race.
The finish line is black on white and situated towards the end of the home straight.
Red pursuit lines
Red pursuit lines are marked in exactly the middle of each straight as start and finish line for pursuit races.
200m white line
A white 200 m line marks the distance of 200 m until the finish line.