The individual pursuit is a track cycling event where two cyclists begin the race from a stationary position on opposite sides of the track. The event is held over 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) for men and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) for women. The two riders start at the same time and set off to complete the race distance in the fastest time. They will ride on the pursuit line at the bottom of the track in order to find the fastest line. This race makes for a good spectacle as the two riders pursue each other attempting to catch the other rider that started on the other side of the track. If the catch is achieved, then the successful pursuer is declared the winner. However they can continue to ride the rest of the race distance in order to set the fastest time in a qualifying race or a record in a final.
The first round of the competition at major events is the qualifying round. This still involves two riders on the track at the same time but they are not directly competing against each other but attempting to set the fastest time to progress in the competition. In the Olympic Games the top riders progress into knock out rounds, with the top two surviving into the Gold and Silver medal race and next two into the Bronze Medal race. In the World Championships or World Cup Classic events, the top two riders from the qualifying round progress directly to the Gold and Silver medal race while the third and fourth qualifiers fight it out for Bronze.
As of 2009[update], the IOC "approved a UCI recommendation to restructure track events at the 2012 Games in London, including the abandonment of individual pursuit events."