Track Cycling

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The Keirin is a mass start Track Cycling event for Sprinters, created in 1948 in Japan but not included in the Olympic programme until 2000. Traditionally only six riders contest a Keirin but the number of riders can vary on the event, for example in the Japanese Keirin Series nine riders line up for each event.

Held over two kilometres (8 laps on a 250m Track, 6 laps on a 333m Track and 5 laps on a 400m Track), riders draw lots prior to the race to determine starting position behind the pacer which is usually a Derny, Motorcycle or non-competing rider.

The riders are required to remain behind the pacer, but are allowed to move position as much as they like as long as they remain behind the rear wheel of the Derny/Pacer.


All about the Keirin


The Derny starts at the deliberately slow speed of about 25 km/h, gradually increasing in speed and leaves the track approximately 600-700 meters before the end, at a speed of about 50 km/h.

As the Derny/Pacer leaves the track, this is when the racing begins with the rider who completes the remaining distance first, the winner.


All about the Keirin


In competitions, this event is conducted in several rounds in order to reduce the number of competitors to one "final" round of ideally six riders. Eliminated cyclists may get the opportunity to try again in the repechages.

Women also contest the Keirin with the only difference being that races are held over 1.5km (6 laps on a 250m Track, 4 laps on a 333m Track and 2 laps on a 400m Track) and the Derny leaves the track at 45 km/h. 2012 will see the Women's Keirin step up a level as it will be included in both the Olympic Games and Japanese Keirin Series for the first time.

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JKA Logo


Keirin in Japan

Keirin racing is one of the most popular sports in Japan due to it being one of the only sports the public are able to bet on.

In 1957 the Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai (NJS) or Japanese Keirin Association (JKA) was founded to establish a uniform system of standards for the sport in Japan which is today regulated by the JKA.

Aspiring professional keirin riders, the vast majority of which are Japanese, compete for entrance into the JKA Keirin School, however entry standards are that high that only ten percent of applicants are accepted.


All about the Keirin


Riders in the Keirin School then undergo a strict15 hours per day training regime working towards graduation exams in order to be NJS approved and become eligible to participate in professional Keirin races in Japan.

Japanese Keirin races start with all nine riders presented to the crowd and bowing in respect before attaching their bikes to the starting gate. Each rider is assigned a number and colour for betting purposes in order to make them easily recognisable to the crowd.

At the sound of the gun, the riders leave their starting blocks and attempt to gain position behind the pacer, which is this instance is a non-competing rider wearing purple

As the pace quickens, the pacer will usually depart the track with between one and two laps remaining, but the actual location where the pacer leaves varies with every race.


All about the Keirin


With 1Ĺ laps remaining, officials begin sounding the bell at increasing frequency until the riders come around to begin the final lap of the race. In addition to informing riders that they are approaching the final lap the sound of the bell and it's increasing frequency adds to the excitement of the racing as the pace further increases and riders start to attack.

The race is monitored by four referees, each located in a tower next to one of the four corners and after every race, each of the four referees will wave either a white or red flag. A white flag indicates that no infractions occurred in that area. A red flag, however, signals a possible infraction and launches an inquiry into the race. Judges then examine the race on video to decide if a participant committed a rules violation; if so, he is disqualified and retires from the remainder of the meet.

Japanese Keirin - Ranking and Race Grades

Riders are classified in terms of ranking, this ensures that the level of ability of the riders in each race is of a similar standard. In total there are six ranks, SS is the highest followed by S1, S2, A1, A2 and A3. All new Keirin graduates start of as A3 and work their way up by competing in events.

You can identify the rank of a rider by the type of shorts they wear during a race. Those in the A Class (A1, A2 and A3) wear Black shorts with a Green Stripe with White Stars at the side. S-Class competitors (S1 and S2) wear a Red Stripe with White Stars whereas the SS Class have Red Shorts with a Black Stripe, White Stars and special insignia.

The SS Class was only introduced in 2007 as a way of idenitifying the best Keirin riders as judged by the NJS at the end of each year.


All about the Keirin


As with Rider Ranking, each race is all assigned a grade, with highest graded events are GP, GI, GII and GIII, reserved only for S-class riders. The next level is FI events which any S-Class or A-Class rider can enter. The owest graded events, FII which are reserved for A-class riders.

The GP grade designation is reserved for the Keirin Grand Prix, a three-day meet held at the end of December for the year's top keirin competitors. The meet ultimately concludes with the Grand Prix race itself, which determines the annual Keirin racing champion.

As of December 2008, the nine competitors for the Keirin Grand Prix race are determined in the following order of priority: -Winners of each of six GI events during the year (Keirin Festival, Japan Championship, Prince Takamatsu Memorial Cup, Prince Tomohito Cup, All-Star Keirin and All-Japan Selection),

-Japanese medal winners of cycling events from the Summer Olympic Games, if they are held in the same year,

-Competitors recommended by a Keirin selection committee,


All about the Keirin


-Competitors that have earned the most money from finishing first, second or third in Keirin events during the year, and finally,

-Competitors with the highest average race score during the year.

Once the Grand Prix field is determined, the nine competitors are assigned the SS rank and retain it for one year. The next nine competitors that are ranked under this system also receive the SS rank and compete in the GI SS Cup held one day prior to the Grand Prix. Also part of the Grand Prix meet is the GII Young Grand Prix, which is open to the best riders that started Keirin riding within the last three years; it is the only Keirin race of the year in which both S-class and A-class compete in the same race.

Another prestigious event on the annual keirin racing calendar is the GI Japan Championship. Held every March over a period of six days, it is the longest single race meeting of the year.

Each of the keirin velodromes are generally permitted to host one event per year of either GI, GII or GIII designation. The remaining events at each track consist of a combination of FI and FII races for a total of approximately 70 race days per year. On average there is one GI or GII event every month and one GIII meeting per week on the annual calendar.

Race schedule

On the first day of competition, the better keirin competitors are assigned to races of higher caliber, while others are assigned to low-caliber races. Keirin racers are guaranteed to compete on each day of the meeting unless they are disqualfied from a race or retire from the meet for any reason - in which case reserve competitors are called up to fill in the lower-caliber races.


All about the Keirin


Below is a schedule of races conducted during a typical three-day FI event (open to both S-class and A-class riders).

Each Race is commonly referred to as R? where ? is equivalent to the numbers outlined below

DAY 1
-Races 1-3: A-class Preliminary (Low Calibre)
First two finishers in each race advance to Day 2 Semi-finals, Third place finishers advance to Day 2 Selection, Remaining riders compete in Day 2 General

-Races 4 & 5: A-class Selection (Medium Calibre)
First six finishers in each race advance to Day 2 Semi-finals, Remaining riders compete in Day 2 Selection

-Race 6: A-class Special (High Calibre)
All riders compete in Day 2 Semi-finals, After six races, S-class riders compete, advancing to the next day's races in the same manner as the A class:

-Races 7-9: S-class Preliminary
-Races 10 & 11: S-class Selection
-Race 12: S-class Special


All about the Keirin


DAY 2
-Races 1 & 2: A-class General
First two finishers in each race advance to Day 3 Selection, Remaining riders compete in Day 3 General

-Race 3: A-class Selection
First three finishers advance to Day 3 Special Excellence, Fourth and fifth place finishers advance to Day 3 Selection, Remaining riders compete in Day 3 General

-Races 4-6: A-class Semi-final
First three finishers in each race advance to Day 3 Final, Fourth through eighth place finishers in each race advance to Day 3 Special Excellence, Ninth place finisher competes in Day 3 Selection

S-class riders advance to the final day in a similar manner:
-Races 7 & 8: S-class General
-Race 9: S-class Selection
-Races 10-12: S-class Semi-finals

DAY 3
-Races 1 & 2: A-class General
-Race 3: A-class Selection
-Races 4 & 5: A-class Special
-Races 6 & 7: S-class General
-Race 8: S-class Selection
-Race 9: A-class Final
-Races 10 & 11: S-class Special Excellence
-Race 12: S-class Final



Japanese Keirin - Equipment Standards

As a result of pari-mutuel gambling (tote) a strict series of standards for equipment was implemented by the NJS.

All riders use very similar bicycles, so that no rider will have any advantage or disadvantage based on equipment. All bicycles and equipment must be built within strict guidelines set by the NJS, by a certified builder using NJS-approved materials. The products are then stamped by NJS and only equipment bearing this stamp may be used. However, it should be noted that the NJS standard is to ensure that no rider will have any advantage or disadvantage based on equipment, and does not necessarily relate to quality or standard of manufacture.


All about the Keirin


For example, 36 spoke wheels are allowed but not 32 even though these are typically lighter and frames must be built by a very limited number of approved builders.

NJS approved equipment often sells for more than comparable equipment because of its specific use, build requirements, and limited manufacturers the majority of which are Japanese in order to support the Japanese economy.

NJS-approved equipment is not required for keirin races outside Japan.

Japanese Keirin - International Riders

Every year a selection of International Riders are invited to attend the Japanese Keirin School to undergo the same strict induction processes that the Japanese professional riders experience. If they graduate from the school they are able to race in the professional Keirin across Japan for the length of their contract, as determined by the JKA.


All about the Keirin


Whilst the prize money on offer for each event is high, the International riders unfortunately do not have the chance to take home all of their winnings due to the high taxation inflicted upon them from various sources in addition to other factored in expenses meaning that they earn only a fraction of the large figures they 'win'.

International Riders, as with all Riders also have to abide by strict censorship rules due to the risk of race fixing by gamblers. This means riders have no contact with the outside world during events, if for example they make online diary/blog entries during an event it has been known for riders to be thrown out of the JKA system.

Results/Videos and Reports from the final week of the 2010 Japanese Keirin can be found here - www.trackcyclingnews.com/jka10w18.html

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Keirin World Champions

The following is a comprehensive listing of the medallists from each of the Keirin World Championships. The first Keirin World title was awarded in 1980 (for Men) and 2002 (Women)
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1980 World Track Cycling Championships
Besancon - France


Gold - Danny Clark (Australia)
Silver - Daniel Morelon (France)
Bronze - Niels Fredborg (Denmark)
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1981 World Track Cycling Championships
Brno, Czech Republic


Gold - Danny Clark (Australia)
Silver - Guido Bontempi (Italy)
Bronze - Ch. Kuno (Japan)
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1982 World Track Cycling Championships
Leicester, UK


Gold - Gordon Singleton (Canada)
Silver - Danny Clark (Australia)
Bronze - Turu Kitamura (Japan)
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1983 World Track Cycling Championships
Zurich, Switzerland


Gold - Urs Freuler (Switzerland)
Silver - Danny Clark (Australia)
Bronze - Gilbert Hatton (USA)
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1984 World Track Cycling Championships
Barcelona, Spain


Gold - Robert Dil-Bundi (Switzerland)
Silver - Ottavio Dazzan (Italy)
Bronze - Urs Freuler (Switzerland)
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1985 World Track Cycling Championships
Bassano de Grappa, Italy


Gold - Urs Freuler (Switzerland)
Silver - Ottavio Dazzan (Italy)
Bronze - M. Takizawa (Japan)
..........................................................................................................
1986 World Track Cycling Championships
Colorado Springs, USA


Gold - Michel Vaarten (Belgium)
Silver - Dieter Giebken (Germany)
Bronze - Urs Freuler (Switzerland)
..........................................................................................................
1987 World Track Cycling Championships
Vienna, Austria


Gold - Harumi Honda (Japan)
Silver - Claudio Golinelli (Italy)
Bronze - Shigenori Inoue (Japan)
..........................................................................................................
1988 World Track Cycling Championships
Ghent, Belgium


Gold - Claudio Golinelli (Italy)
Silver - Ottavio Dazzan (Italy)
Bronze - Michel Vaarten (Belgium)
..........................................................................................................
1989 World Track Cycling Championships
Lyon, France


Gold - Claudio Golinelli (Italy)
Silver - Patrick De Rocha (France)
Bronze - Sako Masatoshi (Japan)
..........................................................................................................
1990 World Track Cycling Championships
Maebashi City, Japan


Gold - Michael Hubner (Germany)
Silver - Claudio Golinelli (Italy)
Bronze - Fabrice Colas (France)
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1991 World Track Cycling Championships
Stuttgart, Germany


Gold - Michael Hubner (Germany)
Silver - Michel Vaarten (Belgium)
Bronze - Claudio Golinelli (Italy)
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1992 World Track Cycling Championships
Valencia, Spain


Gold - Michael Hubner (Germany)
Silver - Stephen Pate (Australia)
Bronze - Frederic Magne (France)
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1993 World Track Cycling Championships
Hamar, Norway


Gold - Gary Neiwand (Australia)
Silver - Marty Nothstein (USA)
Bronze - Toshimasa Yoshioka (Japan)
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1994 World Track Cycling Championships
Palermo, Italy


Gold - Marty Nothstein (USA)
Silver - Michael Hubner (Germany)
Bronze - Federico Paris (Italy)
..........................................................................................................
1995 World Track Cycling Championships
Bogota, Columbia


Gold - Frederic Magne (France)
Silver - Michael Hubner (Germany)
Bronze - Federico Paris (Italy)
..........................................................................................................
1996 World Track Cycling Championships
Manchester, UK


Gold - Marty Nothstein (USA)
Silver - Gary Neiwand (Australia)
Bronze - Frederic Magne (France)
..........................................................................................................
1997 World Track Cycling Championships
Perth, Australia


Gold - Frederic Magne (France)
Silver - JP Van Zyl (South Africa)
Bronze - Marty Nothstein (USA)
..........................................................................................................
1998 World Track Cycling Championships
Bordeaux, France


Gold - Jens Fiedler (Germany)
Silver - Ainars Kiksis (Latvia)
Bronze - Laurent Gane (France)
..........................................................................................................
1999 World Track Cycling Championships
Berlin, Germany


Gold - Jens Fiedler (Germany)
Silver - Anthony Peden (New Zealand)
Bronze - Frederic Magne (France)
..........................................................................................................
2000 World Track Cycling Championships
Manchester, UK


Gold - Frederic Magne (France)
Silver - Jens Fiedler (Germany)
Bronze - Pavel Buran (Czech Republic)
..........................................................................................................
2001 World Track Cycling Championships
Antwerp, Belgium


Gold - Ryan Bayley (Australia)
Silver - Laurent Gane (France)
Bronze - Jens Fiedler (Germany)
..........................................................................................................
2002 World Track Cycling Championships
Copenhagen, Denmark


Men
Gold - Jobie Dajka (Australia)
Silver - Jose Antonio Villanueva (Spain)
Bronze - Rene Wolff (Germany)

Women
Gold - Li Na (China)
Silver - Clara Sanchez (France)
Bronze - Rosealee Hubbard (Australia)
..........................................................................................................
2003 World Track Cycling Championships
Stuttgart, Germany


Men
Gold - Laurent Gane (France)
Silver - Jobie Dajka (Australia)
Bronze - Barry Forde (Barbados)

Women
Gold - Svetlana Grankovskaya (Russia)
Silver - Anna Meares (Australia)
Bronze - Oxana Grishina (Russia)
..........................................................................................................
2004 World Track Cycling Championships
Melbourne, Australia


Men
Gold - Jamie Staff (Australia)
Silver - Jose Antonio Escuredo Raimondez (Spain)
Bronze - Ivan Vrba (Czech Republic)

Women
Gold - Clara Sanchez (France)
Silver - Elisa Frisoni (Italy)
Bronze - Jennie Reed (USA)
..........................................................................................................
2005 World Track Cycling Championships
Los Angeles, USA


Men
Gold - Teun Mulder (Netherlands)
Silver - Barry Forde (Barbados)
Bronze - Shane Kelly (Australia)

Women
Gold - Clara Sanchez (France)
Silver - Elisa Frisoni (Italy)
Bronze - Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands)
..........................................................................................................
2006 World Track Cycling Championships
Bordeaux, France


Men
Gold - Theo Bos (Netherlands)
Silver - Jose Antonio Escuredo Raimondez (Spain)
Bronze - Arnaud Tournant (France)

Women
Gold - Christin Muche (Germany)
Silver - Clara Sanchez (France)
Bronze - Shuang Guo (China)
..........................................................................................................
2007 World Track Cycling Championships
Palma de Mallorca, Spain


Men
Gold - Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Silver - Theo Bos (Netherlands)
Bronze - Ross Edgar (Great Britain)

Women
Gold - Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)
Silver - Shuang Guo (China)
Bronze - Anna Meares (Australia)
..........................................................................................................
2008 World Track Cycling Championships
Manchester, UK


Men
Gold - Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Silver - Teun Mulder (Netherlands)
Bronze - Christos Volikakis (Greece)

Women
Gold - Jennie Reed (USA)
Silver - Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)
Bronze - Christin Muche (Germany)
..........................................................................................................
2009 World Track Cycling Championships
Pruzskow, Poland


Men
Gold - Maximilian Levy (Germany)
Silver - Francois Pervis (France)
Bronze - Teun Mulder (Netherlands)

Women
Gold - Shuang Guo (China)
Silver - Clara Sanchez (France)
Bronze - Willy Kanis (Netherlands)
..........................................................................................................
2010 World Track Cycling Championships
Copenhagen, Denmark


Men
Gold - Sir Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Silver - Azizul Awang (Malaysia)
Bronze - Maximilian Levy (Germany)

Women
Gold - Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania)
Silver - Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)
Bronze - Olga Panarina (Belarus)
..........................................................................................................
2011 World Track Cycling Championships
Apeldoorn, Netherlands


Men
Gold - Shane Perkins (Australia)
Silver - Sir Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Bronze - Teun Mulder (Netherlands)

Women
Gold - Anna Meares (Australia)
Silver - Olga Panarina (Belarus)
Bronze - Clara Sanchez-Henriette (France)
..........................................................................................................
2012 World Track Cycling Championships
Melbourne, Australia


Men
Gold - Sir Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Silver - Maximilian Levy (Germany)
Bronze - Jason Kenny (Germany)

Women
Gold - Anna Meares (Australia)
Silver - Ekaterina Gnidenko (Russia)
Bronze - Kristina Vogel (Germany)

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Keirin Olympic Champions

The following is a comprehensive listing of the medallists from each Keirin at the Olympic Games. The first Keirin Olympic title was awarded in 2000 (for Men) and 2012 (Women)
..........................................................................................................
2000 Olympic Games
Sydney, Australia


Gold - Florian Rousseau (France)
Silver - Gary Neiwand (Australia)
Bronze - Jens Fiedler (Germany)
..........................................................................................................
2004 Olympic Games
Athens, Greece


Gold - Ryan Bayley (Australia)
Silver - Jose Antonio Escuredo Raimondez (Spain)
Bronze - Shane Kelly (Australia)
..........................................................................................................
2008 Olympic Games
Beijing, China


Gold - Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Silver - Ross Edgar (Great Britain)
Bronze - Kiyofumi Nagai (Japan)


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