Cycling encompasses the following disciplines: road, track, mountain bike, cyclocross, BMX, indoor, trials and para‑­cycling track events.

Track events

There are ten track racing events divided into three sections.

Sprint events

Individual sprint, team sprint, kilometre (500m for women) and keirin.

Endurance events

Individual pursuit, team pursuit, points race, madison and scratch race.

Combined event

Omnium is made up of six events over two consecutive days.


Track racing takes place in an arena called a velodrome. The inner edge of the track consists of two curves connected by two parallel straight lines. The entrance and exit of the bends are designed so that the transition is gradual.

The banking of the track is determined by the radius of the curves and the maximum speeds achieved in the various disciplines.

Velodromes can be enclosed or open air and are surfaced in wood or smooth concrete.


The length of the track is between 133m and 500m inclusive. For World Championships and Olympic Games, velodromes are 250m. The length of the track is measured 20cm above the inner edge of the track (the upper edge of the blue band).

The length of the track multiplied by a round number of laps or half laps equals 1,000m. 

The smaller the track, the steeper the banking. A 250m track would bank around 45°, while a 333m track would bank around 32°.


The width of the track is constant throughout its length. Tracks approved in categories 1 and 2 have a minimum width of 7m. Other tracks have a width proportional to its length of 5m minimum.


The surface of the track is completely flat, homogenous and non‑­abrasive. The tolerance of flatness for the track surface is 5mm over 2m. The coating is uniform in all its aspects over the entire track surface. The surface colour of the track must leave the track marking lines clearly visible.


All tracks have a standard set of markings. Any demarcation, line, advertisement or other marking on the track is applied with a paint or product which is non‑­slip and does not alter the adhesion properties, consistency or homogeneity of the surface.

The longitudinal lines on the track above the blue band are 5cm wide and the perpendicular lines are 4cm wide.

Blue band

A rideable area, sky blue in colour, known as the blue band is provided along the inside edge of the track. The width of this band is at least 10% of the width of the track and its surface has the same properties as the track. No advertising inscription is permissible in this area.

With the exception of mounted riders, no person or object is allowed on the blue band while one or more riders are on the track.

Safety zone

Immediately inside the blue band there is a prepared and marked safety zone. The combined width of the blue band and the safety zone is at least 4m for tracks of 250m and over, and 2.5m for tracks shorter than 250m.

With the exception of the commissaires, mounted riders or other persons authorised by the Chief Commissaire, no person or object (including starting blocks) are allowed inside the safety zone when a rider is on the track.

A fence at least 120cm high, is erected on the inner edge of the safety zone in the track centre. The fence is transparent and advertising boards are not allowed.

In places where the level of the track proper is more than 1.5m higher than the actual track centre, additional protective measures such as nets, panels, or the like, can be erected in order to prevent athletes being subjected to injury.

Longitudinal markings

Measurement line

The measurement line is black or white, to contrast with the track, and placed with its inner edge 20cm from the inner edge of the track. It is marked off at every 5m and numbered at every 10m going counterclockwise from the finish line. The official length of the track is to be measured on the inner edge of this line.

Sprinters’ line

The sprinters line is red and placed with its outer edge 90cm from the inner edge of the track. The distance is measured to the inner edge of the red line.

Stayers’ line

A blue line drawn at one third of the total width of the track or 2.45m (whichever is greater) from the inner edge of the track, the distance being measured from the inner edge of the line.

Perpendicular markings

Finish line

The finish line is situated towards the end of one of the straights but at least a few metres before the entrance of the banking, and in principle in front of the main grandstand. It is marked by a perpendicular black line 4cm wide at the centre of a white band 72cm in wide. The finish line marking on the track continues up to the top of the flat surface of the fencing. 

200 metre line

A white line is drawn across the track 200m before the finish line, from which point the times are recorded for sprint events

Pursuit lines

Two red lines half the width of the track in length, perpendicular to the track and precisely in line with one another, are drawn at the precise midpoint of each of the straights to mark the finish points for pursuit events.

cycling track markings

Road events

A road course may be from place to place, around a circuit, out and back or a combination of these. The course must not cross itself. There must be no chance that riders have to cut through other groups of riders.


In all road events a conspicuous marker denotes the final kilometre. Panels at the 500m, 300m, 150m 100m and 50m are recommended. 

Panels indicating the last 25, 20, 10, 5, 4, 3 and 2 km are recommended for all road races. In races ending on a circuit, only the last 3, 2 and 1 km are displayed.

The finish

The finishing area is at least 8m wide and protected to prevent spectators from entering onto the course. The last 200m is free of turns and curves.

The finish line is perpendicular to the racecourse. For any championship event it is a black line between 4cm and 6cm wide painted in the middle of a 72cm wide white stripe.

Individual road race

Individual road races are massed start races, in which all riders start from the same mark, or handicap races, in which starting positions are assigned in accordance with past performance to give all riders an equal chance at winning. 

If a circuit course is used for an individual road race, the distance is at least 5km per lap.


A criterium is a closed loop course entirely closed to traffic. The length of the course is between 800m and 5km. The minimum width throughout the course is 7m.

Riders may only ride in a forward direction on the course but may dismount and run backward to a repair pit when it is safe to do so.

Individual time trial

Courses may be out and back, around a circuit, or one way. Only out and back and circuit courses may be used for record purposes. Starting times are at equal intervals, normally one minute.

Team Time Trial

Teams are made up of two or more riders. The distance, timing basis and number of riders who are required to finish is specified in the official race announcement.

Times are based on any specified finishing position or on the sum of the times of any specified finishers.

Courses may be out and back, around a circuit, or one way. Only out and back or circuit courses may be used for record purposes.

The recommended minimum roadway width is 12m for an out and back course; otherwise a minimum of 8m is permitted. A warm‑­up area at least 2km long adjacent to the starting area is recommended.

The turnaround point for an out and back course is where the roadway is wide enough to permit the riders and any following vehicles to turn smoothly.

Stage racing

A stage race is an event with a common entry, run on consecutive days and comprises a sequence of road races (ie individual road races, time trials, criteriums). The overall results are determined by cumulative time or points.

Riders must successfully complete each stage in order to be eligible for the next one. In stage races by time, the sum of the rider’s times for each stage determines the final results. In stage races by points, the sum of the rider’s points for each stage determines the final results.


The track is a compact, closed looped design, forming a circuit 300m to 400m long. The track is a minimum of 10m wide at the start and cannot taper to a width less than 5m at any point along the track.

Starting hill

The starting hill is at least 10m wide and 1.5m high, preferably 2.5m above the grade of the first straight. The initial incline extending from the starting gate to level grade is at least 12m long.

Starting gate

The starting gate is 7.3m wide. It is at least 50cm high with an angle no greater than 90 degrees with the slope of the ramp which supports the bikes wheels when in the starting position.

Initial straight

The initial straight is 40m long. It is recommended that the bottom front side of the first obstacle is located not less than 35m from the starting gate nor less than 20m from the curvature of the first turn.\First turn
The first turn can go in either direction and banked to a degree which allows safe entry and exit for riders of all ages at race speeds. The track is a minimum of 6m wide measured along a straight line extending from the inner radium to the top of the berm at its outer radius.

Turns and obstacles

The track has a minimum of 3 turns and a minimum of 5m wide throughout each turn. All obstacles on the track are constructed with the safety of all riders, regardless of age, in mind. On the first straight the minimum distance between two obstacles is 10m. An obstacle is defined by its front and back slope and can be a single obstacle, double, triple or multi‑­jump as well as a 4‑­pack, 5‑­pack or multi-pack.

Race track markings

The boundaries of the race track are clearly marked with white lines.


The track is enclosed by a perimeter fence located at any point no closer than 2m from the competition track. The fence is constructed of a substantial material such as plastic webbing which is capable of absorbing the full impact of a rider of any size striking it at race speed.

Finish line

The finish line is a straight line 4cm wide, painted black in the middle of a white strip 24cm wide. Any banners extending across the track above the finish line or elsewhere along the track are at an elevation sufficiently above track level to avoid interference with the riders crossing beneath them.

bmx track layout

Mountain biking

Cross country events

The course for a cross‑­country race includes a variety of terrain such as road sections, forest tracks, fields and earth or gravel paths, and include significant amounts of climbing and descending. Paved or tarred/asphalt roads cannot exceed 15% of the total course. The following events are included in the cross country disciplines:

Olympic: XCO

The course for an Olympic format cross‑­country event uses a layout ideally in a cloverleaf design, to encourage easy viewing for spectators and any television coverage. The course is marked every kilometre by a sign indicating the distance remaining to the finish line. Riders must start in a single group.

Marathon: XCM

The format for cross‑­country marathon race is a minimum distance of 60km and maximum 160km. The course is marked every 10km with a sign indicating the distance remaining to be raced. The race can be run over a single lap or multi‑­lap with a maximum number of laps of three. In the event of a single lap the course does include any section to be covered twice. Only the start and finish lines are located at the same place. Riders start in a single group.

Point to point: XCP

The course for a cross‑­country point to point event starts in one place and finishes elsewhere. Riders start in a single group.

Short circuit: XCC

The start and finish are in the same area. The distance of the course is no more than 2km with a race duration of 30 to 60 minutes.

Eliminator: XCE

The course for a cross‑­country eliminator race is between 500m and 1000m and includes natural and/or artificial obstacles. The whole course is 100% rideable, single track sections are avoided and where possible the course has not more than one 180° turn. The start and finish area are separated in order to allow a short race program. Obstacles such as trees, stairs (up/down), drops, bridges or wooden constructions can create a dynamic short race.

Time trial: XCT

Time trial events are only used during stage races.

Team relay: XCR

These events are only available at world championships and continental championships.

Stage races

A stage race is a series of cross‑­country races in which teams, national federation riders and individual riders may take part. Riders must complete each stage according to the specific procedures for the event in order to be eligible for the next stage. 
Stage races are run over at least three days, with a maximum of nine days. Only one stage per day may be run. The different types of cross‑­country events mentioned above except cross‑­country eliminator (XCE) can be chosen for the stages.

Course markings

The complete course is marked and indicated according to the following system:

  • Direction arrows (black arrows on white or yellow panels) indicate the route to be followed showing changes of course, intersections, and all potentially dangerous situations. The minimum dimensions of direction arrows are 40cm by 20cm and not sited more than 1.5m above ground level.
  • An arrow is located 10m before each junction, at the junction and 10m after the junction to confirm that the correct route has been followed.
  • A clearly visible X sign is used to mark wrong directions.
  • The sections of a cross‑­country course that involve steep or potentially dangerous slopes are marked and protected using non‑­metallic, preferably PVC, stakes (slalom stakes), 1.5 to 2m high.
  • Where course sections involve obstacles such as walls, tree stumps or tree trunks, hay bales or suitable padding are used to protect the riders. Such protective measures must not restrict the rideability of the course.
  • In appropriate areas, such as along the edge of steep drops, catch nets which comply with safety standards are used. 
  • Any wooden bridges or ramps are covered with a non‑­slip surface (carpet, chicken wire or special anti‑­slip paint).
  • Wherever possible, roots, tree stumps, protruding rocks, etc are covered in biodegradable fluorescent paint.
Start and finish zones

The start and finish banners are placed immediately above the start and finish lines at least 2.5m above ground level and covers the whole width of the riding surface.

The start zone for a cross‑­country event (massed start events) for world championships and world club events is at least:

  • 8m wide for at least 50m before the start line.
  • 8m wide for at least 100m after the start line.

For all other events:

  • 6m wide for at least 5m before the start line.
  • 6m wide for at least 100m after the start line;

For all events the start is on a flat or uphill section of the course.

The finish zone for a cross‑­country event (massed start event) is at least:

  • 4m wide for at least 50m before the finish line; for world championships and world cup events this zone is at least 8m wide for at least 80m.
  • 4m wide for at least 20m after the finish line; for world championships and world cup events this zone is at least 8m wide for at least 50m.
  • On a flat or uphill section of the course.

Barriers must be in place on both sides of the course for a minimum of 100m before and 50m after the start and finish line. The final kilometre of the race must be clearly indicated.

Downhill events

Downhill has two disciplines, individual and marathon.

The course for a downhill follows a descending route. The course comprises varied terrain sections; narrow and broad tracks, woodland roads and paths, field paths and rocky tracks. 

The course is 1500m minimum and 3500m maximum. The entire downhill course is marked and protected using non‑­metallic, preferably PVC, stakes (slalom stakes) 1.5 to 2m high. The use of straw bales to mark off the course is not permitted.

The start area is at least one metre and no more than 2m wide. A suitable handrail is installed, the floor is covered with a non‑­slip surface and the start area is covered.

The finish area is at least 6m wide. There is a braking area of minimum 35‑­50m after the finish line with adequate protection and cordoned off from the public. The riders’ exit is designed so that the speed is kept to a minimum. This area must be free of obstacles.

Four cross events

Four cross is an elimination event where three or four riders (called a heat) compete side by side on the same downhill course. The course is set up on moderate slopes with regular gradients. It also includes a mixture of jumps, humps, banked turns, berms, dips, natural tables and other special features. It may also include unbanked turns. 

The course is wide enough to allow four riders to line up side by side, and to allow overtaking.
The start straight is at least 30m long. Obstacles in the first 30m are the same across the entire width of the course.

The gates on the course are made of non‑­metallic stakes (slalom stakes), preferably in PVC, 1.5 to 2m high. The gates are set up with the lower part inwards and the higher part outwards. The last gate on the course is located at least 10m from the finish line.


The race includes several liaison stages and timed stages. The times achieved in all timed stages are accumulated to a total time.

An enduro course comprises varied off‑­road terrain. The track includes a mixture of narrow and wide, slow and fast paths and tracks over a mixture of off‑­road surfaces. Each timed stage is predominately descending but small pedaling or uphill sections are acceptable.

Liaison stages can include either mechanical uplift (eg chairlift), pedal powered climbs or a mixture of both. Enduro courses are clearly marked using a combination of arrows, gates and traditional course tape. In the sections of the course that are marked by course tape, both sides of the track are marked.

Course markings

The following course markings are used by UCI and other national governing bodies.

Arrows mark the entire length of the official course. The arrows’ area is contrasting colour on a white background, on signs measuring a minimum of (30cm by 60cm).

The signs indicate the course to follow, curves, intersections and warn of situations which are challenging for the competitors. 

Signs are posted along the course at regular intervals to indicate to competitors that they are on course.

An arrow is placed 30m before the intersection marks at each intersection, also marked with an arrow.

The direction of travel is then confirmed by another arrow located 30m further in the new direction.
In all hazardous situations, two or three arrows placed upside down are located 30m before any obstacle on a circuit. A hazard on the circuit may be an obstacle, quality of the surface, angle of the track or any other condition not specifically addressed.

Directional arrows are placed on the right and at racing eye level, about three feet from the ground.

The course also is marked every half mile or one km with signs indicating kms yet to be raced. There may be a sign indicating one km to go.

Below is an example of a mountain bike track in New Zealand.

Mountain bike track map in Queenstown New Zealand


UCI Cycling Regulations June 2015. Switzerland.

UCI Cycling Regulations February 2015. Switzerland.

UCI Cycling Regulations April 2014. Switzerland.

UCI Cycling Regulations April 2014. Switzerland.

USA Cycling. USA BMX Rule book 2015.

Skyline Queenstown.

Sport association details

Westcycle Incorporated

Wayne Bradshaw
Chief Executive Officer
105 Cambridge Street, West Leederville WA 6007
Telephone 61 8 6336 9688
Facebook WestCycle

(includes enquiries regarding mountain bike, BMX, and other cycling disciplines)


The information in this guide is general in nature and cannot be relied upon as professional advice concerning the design of, or marking out for, sporting facilities and playing areas. No assurance is given as to the accuracy of any information contained in this guide and readers should not rely on its accuracy. Readers should obtain their own independent and professional advice in relation to their proposed sporting activity.

Page reviewed 07 October 2022