Cycling News

Opinion: Add another 250 m to the kilo in track racing

Stefan Ritter

The UCI made some long-awaited changes on Wednesday. For several years, the men and women raced different distances in some key events. The men raced 4km in the pursuit, versus the women’s 3km. The men did a 1km time trial, whereas the women did 500m. A 500m time trial is not comparable to a 1km test, so the distances never made sense. Most likely, it was part of an antiquated notion about sport and what men could handle, distance-wise, and what women could. But racing two laps of a track versus four is not even remotely the same. Imagine if women did a 50m dash, and the men ran 100m at the Olympics. Finally, the UCI has made changes. Starting January 1, 2025, women will race the same distance as the men. The pursuit will be 4km for both men and women, as well as the kilometer time trial.

“It’s really exciting as the 4km is a great benchmark,” Chris Reid, the executive director of the National Cycling Institute Milton, said. “You’ll really get to appreciate just how fast, say, a Chloé Dygert is.”

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Although the move was welcomed by most in the track community, given the faster bikes, kit, and track surfaces, some are wondering: Is 1000 m too short in the modern era?

Two-time Olympian and former pro cyclists think that tacking an extra lap onto the kilo might be a good idea. “Making the women’s kilo 500 m was one of the dumbest moves I’ve seen. It turned an exciting race into something that was pretty boring. I’m glad they finally fixed that,” he said.

In Wallace’s day, a kilo would take just over a minute, anywhere from 1:02 to 1:03. In his opinion, that meant the last lap would be tense and exciting. Riders might drop the anchor and there would be considerable drama. Now, however, they are riding five to six seconds faster and some of that excitement is lost as the finals are so close.

“Let’s look at the men’s kilo for a minute, or rather for 57 seconds because that’s all it takes nowadays with faster bikes and tracks. The problem there is that it’s all over just as the event is about to get exciting. I think we’ve all watched hundreds of kilos where things change drastically on the last half lap,” he says. “Now, all the kilos pretty much look the same, and nothing exciting really ever happens, right? So how about increasing the men’s kilo to 1250 m?”

As well as creating parity between the men’s and…

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