Blood on the Tracks: See Keirin Cycle Racing in Nagoya

If you have ever seen track bicycle racing in a velodrome or on TV during the Olympics, you would consider events such as pursuit, omnium and time trials as exhilarating, high-speed, but ultimately combat-free sports. In Japan’s favorite cycle event, ‘keirin’ racing, though high-tempo and exciting, stands out for its embracing of sheer physical danger. What is Keirin? Developed in 1948 for gambling purposes (more on which later) keirin, literally cycle race, is a popular form of cycle racing that resembles the individual sprint, but with up to nine racers instead of two, making it a harum-scarum race that can be pretty terrifying… and fun to watch! The race begins with all nine riders, having drawn lots for a position, lining up on their brakeless fixed-gear cycles in their brightly-colored jerseys. At the gun, they take off behind a pacing rider who starts slowly (about 25km per hour) with the riders jostling behind him for position. Gradually the pacer ups the speed to around 50km per hour before, at around 1400m into the 2km race, he veers off the track suddenly, the signal for the competitors to make a break for it. With his bulky armor to protect him from elbows and head butts, this keirin racer is a far cry from the skinny riders seen at Tour de France As the speed climbs up to 70 km per hour, competition grows fierce, and it is not unusual for elbows, fists and even head butts to be used as a…
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Blood on the Tracks: See Keirin Cycle Racing in Nagoya
Original Source: www.JapanInfoSwap.com
Blood on the Tracks: See Keirin Cycle Racing in Nagoya

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