The new Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill is hosting its first national championships this weekend. Cyclists are coming from around the country to compete in what’s called the Elite Omnium.
The Omnium is to bikes what the decathlon is to track and field. Thad Fischer is the man in charge of all things cycling for the city of Rock Hill.
“It’s taking six disciplines in track cycling, and the riders compete in those six disciplines over two days,” Fischer says. “And the rider with the best score, both men and women, at the end of those two days is crowned the national champ.”
One of the disciplines has all the cyclists on the track at once. Riders then slowly get eliminated if they’re the last ones to cross the finish line every other lap as the pack goes around. Whoever’s left at the end wins.
Heats to qualify riders for the competition will be held Friday morning before the championships get underway.
“Let’s say in the men, if we have 30 men that are registered, there will be two heats run first thing in the morning of 15 riders per heat,” Fischer says. “The three riders from each of those heats that finish in the last three places will be eliminated.”
The velodrome holds 800 people, but Fischer says they’ve prepared for upwards of 2,000 fans by adding extra seats. Admission is free.