And over to the keirin racing after flying Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland topped the qualifying in the men’s sprint with an Olympic record time of 9.215sec. Decent start for Team GB’s Jack Carlin who was third fastest time of the day, but Jason Kenny was a little off the pace in eighth spot.
How does the keirin work and why do they ride behind a motorbike?
The keirin is an eight-lap track race featuring up to six riders that is unique in as much as there are seven bikes out on the boards. The seventh, though, is not pedal-powered but instead a motorbike, or derny.
Favoured by strong sprinters, competitors require cunning and bravery once the fast-paced race reaches its climatic conclusion. The derny starts the race with riders sitting in its slipstream as it gradually winds up the pace. Starting at 30kph, the vehicle gradually speeds up to 50kph before, after reaching the pursuit line on the home straight and with three laps remaining, it peels off the track.
No rider must pass the derny until it has left the track at which point they are free to duel it out, though not quite as physically as is often seen in Japanese keirin racing that is a multi-billion pound industry in its homeland.
Solid start for Katy Marchant who wins the first heat of the day to progress to the next round. Incidentally, the first two rider from each heat go through to the next round.