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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 km for men and 3 km 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 current Men's Olympic champion in this event is Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins. (The event was dropped for the 2012 Olympics.) The current Men's World Champion in this event is Australia's Alex Edmondson.
Qualification and race format
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 December 10, 2009 the IOC approved a UCI recommendation to restructure track events at the 2012 Games in London, including the abandonment of individual pursuit events.
Notable performers in this discipline include:
- British professional Hugh Porter (four times world professional champion - over 5000 metres)
- Frenchman Roger Rivière (three times world professional champion, 1957-1959)
- Chris Boardman
- Jack Bobridge, set world record in 4K individual pursuit 2011 with a time of 4 mins 10 seconds .534 (4.10.534)
- Graeme Obree
- Bradley Wiggins, Twice Olympic champion and three times world champion
- six time women's champion Rebecca Twigg
- five time women's champion Beryl Burton
- Sarah Ulmer from New Zealand
- Rebecca Romero, world and Olympic champion
- Taylor Phinney, double world champion
- Sarah Hammer, five times world champion
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