A time trial is an individual event where riders begin from a standing start and ride over a defined number of laps with the aim of setting the fastest time over the race distance. An automatic start gate is used to hold the riders bike in position (riders may be hand held when a start gate is not available).
A countdown timer is used to indicate to riders the time until the start of the race. An audible sound indicates the 30, 10 and final 5 seconds before a gun, whistle or other sound is used to start the race and the start gate is released.
Riders are seeded based on ability and previous results, with the lowest ranked rider racing first and the highest ranked rider racing last.
The Time Trial is often called the ‘kilo’ in reference to the race distance for an elite rider. Traditionally the Time Trial is the blue riband event in cycling competitions as the ultimate test of rider’s ability, and while still raced at World Championships it has sadly been dropped from Olympic competition.
Distance: Dependent upon age group and gender
- Elite: 1000m;
Tactics: Riders will balance the need to start as quickly as possible with maintaining a high speed during the race by varying the gears used to suit their preference. Riders with lower gears will start quickly and attain a lower top speed (and often fade over the last lap) while riders with bigger gears will start slower, straining to get the bike up to top speed but maintain a higher speed over the whole race distance.
What to watch: The clock! Riders use aero-style handlebars and helmets to adopt a streamlined position on the bike and front and rear disc wheels to minimise wind resistance and gain an advantage.