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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 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 who 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.
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.
Notable individual pursuiters
- Roger Rivière (France), three time world professional champion, 1957-1959
- Hugh Porter (UK), four time world 5 km professional champion
- Graeme Obree (twice world champion and set a world record twice)
- Chris Boardman (Olympic champion 1992 and world champion 1994 and 1996
- Sir Bradley Wiggins (twice Olympic champion and three time world champion)
- Taylor Phinney (double world champion)
- Jack Bobridge (set 4 km world record of 4 mins 10.53 seconds in 2011)
- Lasse Norman Hansen (4 km olympic record)
- Filippo Ganna (4 km world record with 4 min 2.647 seconds at the 2019/20 UCI Track World Cup in Minsk)
- Beryl Burton (five time world champion)
- Tamara Garkushina (six time world champion)
- Rebecca Twigg (six time world champion)
- Jeannie Longo (three time world champion)
- Leontien van Moorsel (Olympic and four time world champion)
- Sarah Ulmer (Olympic and world champion)
- Sarah Hammer (five time world champion)
- Rebecca Romero (Olympic and world champion)
- Chloé Dygert (three time world champion and world record holder)
- World record progression – Men's individual pursuit
- World record progression – Women's individual pursuit
- Team pursuit
- Track cycling
- Pelkey, Charles (10 December 2009). "IOC drops individual pursuit". VeloNews. Competitor Group. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "World Championship, Track, Pursuit, Elite". Cycling Archives. de Wielersite. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "World Championship, Track, Pursuit, Elite (F)". Cycling Archives. de Wielersite. Retrieved 24 April 2015.