Time trial

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In many racing sports, an athlete (or occasionally a team of athletes) will compete in a time trial against the clock to secure the fastest time. The format of a time trial can vary, but usually follow a format where each athlete or team sets off at a predetermined interval to set the fastest time on a course.

Variation in sports[edit]

Time trial "Souvenir Stefan Götz" at the 2nd ICFF, Marbeck, Germany, September 2007


In cycling, for example, a time trial (TT) can be a single track cycling event, or an individual or team time trial on the road, and either or both of the latter may form components of multi-day stage races. In contrast to other types of races, athletes race alone since they are sent out in intervals (interval starts), as opposed to a mass start.[1][2] Time trialist will often seek to maintain marginal aerodynamic gains as the races are often won or lost by a couple of seconds.[3]


In cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions, skiers are sent out in 30 to 60 second intervals.[4]


In rowing, time trial races, where the boats are sent out at 10 to 20 second intervals, are usually called "head races"[5] A head race is a time-trial competition in the sport of rowing. Head races are typically held in the fall, winter and spring seasons. These events draw many athletes as well as observers. In this form of racing, rowers race against the clock where the crew or rower completing the course in the shortest time in their age, ability and boat-class category is deemed the winner.[6]


In many forms of motorsport, a similar format is used in qualifying to determine the starting order for the main event, though multiple attempts to set the fastest time are often allowed.[7] In rallying, the special stages are run in a time-trial format. Other forms of time trials in motorsport include hill-climbing and qualifying.[7] A similar race against the clock or time attack is often part of racing video games.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bird, Aaron (2016-10-03). "CTT News - Your First Time Trial". www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk. Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  2. ^ "time trial | cycling | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  3. ^ "AeroCoach - cycling aerodynamics experts and wind tunnel/aero testing". www.aero-coach.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  4. ^ Worldwide, Team Nordic Jobs (2022-01-19). "First ever Individual Time Trial in Visma Ski Classics". Team Nordic Jobs Worldwide. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  5. ^ "On This One: Optimum Strategies for Rowing Time Trials". row2k.com. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  6. ^ "Head of the Yarra". Head of the Yarra. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  7. ^ a b "The Guide to Road Racing, Part 12: Time Trials - Winding Road". www.windingroad.com. Retrieved 2022-04-15.