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Track cycling race - v. l. No. clearly visible: the blue, red and black lines as well as the "Côte d'Azur", s. Marking and labeling

A cycling track is used to hold cycling races in track cycling . A stadium or hall with a cycle track is called a velodrome . On Cycle tracks the use is of railway wheels prescribed (z. B. U11) only in the lower age groups, in exceptional cases and in road races that are stopped on cycling tracks (such. As Paris-Roubaix ), the use of is road wheels allowed .

Construction - material - properties

In the history of cycling, different materials have been used to build cycle tracks. The most common materials used today are wood, concrete and asphalt . The tracks made of wood are the fastest because of the three materials mentioned, it has the lowest frictional resistance . The Schürmann architects used mostly the rare tropical wood for non-covered wooden tracks afzelia . Siberian spruce is mainly used for indoor tracks . It makes sense to use asphalt as a road surface only for very long cycle racing tracks (> 333 m) with a slight curve camber (see "cant" below) and no longer corresponds to today's standard.


The world's first track race was probably held in Paris on May 31, 1869. It was an earth orbit with slightly elevated curves. The first cycling track in Germany was inaugurated in Munich in 1880 . At that time there were very few road races because of the bad roads; in some German cities, cycling on the streets was even prohibited. Initially, aviator races (today: sprint) were extremely popular, but with the motorization of pacemaker machines, standing races became more and more popular from the turn of the 20th century . From 1909, more and more cycling tracks were built in Germany to host six-day races . While there was at least one cycling track in almost every German city, there are only a few tracks left in Germany today. The smallest and shortest cycle track with a length of 44 meters stood for a short time in Paris in 1901 . Maurice Garin and Lucien Lesna competed against each other on October 6, 1901. After that the track was used by acrobats.

The longest and fastest cycle tracks in the world

While the Milan Vigorelli-Bahn (the former World Championship track in Rome in 1932) was considered the best cycling track in the world until the late 1960s , today the Velodrome in Moscow- Krylatskoje and the Velodrome in Berlin are included. At the place where the Werner-Seelenbinder-Halle stood until a few years ago , one of the most modern railways in the world was built by 1997 with a length of 250 meters. The members of the Schürmann family of architects from Münster , who have been active in this field since 1925 and have built over 125 tracks worldwide, are considered to be the world's best builders of cycle racing tracks. The Dutch racecourse architect Marc Douma developed a mobile cycle race track together with a company, on which six-day races were held in Rotterdam, Maastricht and Hasselt (B). Velotrack GmbH has three different cycling tracks, including the Bremen Arena track, on which the six-day race is held.

In the Oderlandhalle in Frankfurt (Oder) and in the Stuttgart Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle , built in 1984 , the longest closed cycle racing tracks in Germany with a length of 285.71 m (open-air tracks are sometimes much longer) were installed.

With a length of 666.66 m, the cycling track in the German Stadium in Berlin was the longest in Germany. The track cycling competitions of the 1916 Olympic Games were to take place there.

The longest covered run in the world with a length of 333.33 meters was built on the occasion of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow-Krylatskoje.

With a length of 400 meters, the longest partially covered cycling track in Germany is located in Leipzig. It has a width of 7 meters. The curve superelevation is between 0 ° on the straight and 38 ° in the curves. An epoxy resin coating was used as the covering. In 1960 the World Railroad Championships took place on this track .

One of the fastest uncovered summer tracks in Europe is the Hanover-Wülfel cycling track ; it has a length of 333 meters and was made of African wood.

Since open tracks and events in summer were more the rule in the past, cycle tracks in the halls were called "winter tracks". Today, major international events take place throughout the year, preferably in indoor cycling tracks.

Construction and dimensions

View of a cycling track


A cycling track basically consists of two straight lines and two 180 ° curves. The ratio of the two geometric elements should be in a balanced relationship, but is not mandatory. The different disciplines, on the other hand, place different demands on the track: For example, in standing races with their high sustained speeds (> 65 km / h), further (and thus long) corners are popular because of the lower cornering pressure. Most railways are therefore in their relation between straight lines and curves a compromise between the various requirements that the disciplines put on the railroad.


Different maximum speeds are reached in the various disciplines of track cycling. While in endurance competitions 55 - 70 km / h are achieved, the top speeds in sprints are between 70 and 80 km / h. In standing races, speeds of up to 110 km / h are reached. The shape and elevation of cycle tracks must be designed for these speeds.


In order to ensure a sufficiently obtuse angle between the track surface and the wheel and thus sufficient static friction with the necessary curve inclinations for the driver, the curves must be elevated. Depending on the curve geometry and the maximum permissible speed, the necessary inclination of the road in the curves can be between 30 and 60 degrees. As a rule of thumb, the driver should stand perpendicular to the track at around 40 - 50 km / h. At higher speeds, the drivers have to compensate for higher centrifugal forces that act outwards and therefore lean even further inwards than the incline of the track. When driving slowly, the drivers are inclined outwards in relation to the incline of the track. If a driver drives too slowly through steeply sloping bends, he will fall below the minimum necessary angle of static friction and slip off the driving surface.

Since the elevation cannot abruptly change into a horizontal construction on the straight, a gradual transition is chosen so that a certain elevation of the roadway also remains on the straight.


In order to have sufficient functionality for all competitions to be held, various, sometimes conflicting criteria must be met that influence the length. Track lengths are usually chosen so that a certain number of whole or at least half rounds result in 1000 m each. The following are therefore common (in brackets: required number of laps for 1000 m): 200 (5), 250 (4) and 333.33 m (3). But the Stuttgart railway (just like the now dismantled Munich Olympic railway) meets this criterion: with 285.71 m you reach exactly 1000 m in 3.5 laps. Many of the less than 200 m long tracks no longer exist. Popular 166.66 m lanes (6) are in the “ Kuipke ” in Gent / Belgium and in the Vélodrome de Genève in Geneva / Switzerland.

In the past, cycling tracks were often built in combination with soccer fields or athletics tracks and were therefore 400 - 500 m long. These lengths are now considered to be no longer up-to-date and because of the large viewing distances as uninteresting for the audience.

According to the UCI, lanes between 133.333 and 500 m are permitted, at World Championships and Olympic Games at least 250 m are required.


The width of the lane is determined by requirements such as enough space to evade a fall, enough space for tactical maneuvers during sprinting and the like and is usually between 5 and 8 m. A 2.50 - 4 m wide security strip connects to the actual track area towards the interior.

Marking and lettering of the track

The lane markings

Three lines are applied to the track in the direction of travel:

  • (black) "measuring line" (former designation: goal line): its length corresponds to the officially designated track length. In order to prevent “shortcuts”, plastic sponges approx. 50 cm long are placed on the track below the measuring line in the bends of the championship time trial, so that the part of the track below this line is blocked. The part of the track 20 cm below the measuring line (to the left of it) is called "Côte d'Azur" or "Carpet" because of the light blue paint and serves as a transition between the interior and the actual track surface. The width of the "Côte d'Azur" is at least 10% of the web width. The distance covered in meters from the target is attached to the measuring line every 10 m.
  • (red) "sprinter line": It is applied at a distance of 70 cm from the measuring line . If a driver drives below this line, he may not be overtaken on the left (= inside) in the sprint, if he drives above this line and is overtaken on the inside, he may not "close", ie he may not swing down and approach the overtaking driver prevent the overtaking unless he is at least one wheel length ahead of the driver attacking from behind.
  • (blue) “standing line”: It fulfills various purposes and is in principle 2/3 of the width of the lane, but at least 2.50 m from the inner edge of the lane. In standing races it fulfills a similar function to the red line in the sprint, ie attacked stayers must stay below the blue line and may not be overtaken on the left if they drive below the blue line. In 2-man team races, the relieved drivers drive (more slowly) above the blue line so as not to hinder the drivers in the race.
  • The Côte d'azur forms the end of the path downwards .

Further markings can be found across the direction of travel:

  • “Finish line”: The finish line is marked across the road shortly before the end of the home straight. A 72 cm wide, white marking is to be applied and a 4 cm wide, black target line to be provided in the middle.
  • "Chasing lines": The 4 cm wide, red chasing lines are drawn across the road exactly in the middle of the two straight lines. They mark the start and finish of the pursuit competitions and extend up to half the width of the track.
  • "200 m line": 200 m before the finish line, a white, 4 cm wide line is marked across the lane, which shows the distance to the finish and serves as a measuring line for the last 200 m in the sprint. This line is not available on 200 m lanes.

Space requirement

While a 133.333 m track needs about the area of ​​an ice hockey rink (30 × 60 m), a world championship track with a length of 250 m already has a space requirement of approx. 60 × 110 m roughly corresponds to a soccer field.


There are international and national regulations for the construction and dimensions of the cycling tracks. Some of these are in the betting transport regulations rail of the BDR (below see. Related links) included, others can use the BDR or UCI are requested.

Cycle races in German-speaking countries

Open lanes

Covered lanes

Indoor lanes

(Cycle track built over and no longer usable). (Location)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hervé Paturle, Guillaume Rebière: Un siècle de cyclisme . Calmann- Lévy, Paris 1997, p. 45 (French).
  2. ^ Website of the Velodrome Suisse