UCI announces change of direction for Southern Hemisphere track racing

Move levels playing field between nations north and south of equator

by John Stevenson   April 1, 2014  

Laura Trott practicing for the new clockwise track regime in Australia (©Britishcycling.org.uk)

If the time and distance involved in travelling to World Cup races weren’t enough to contend with, from 2015 the world’s track cyclists will have to endure another adaptation when they cross the equator: changing racing direction.

Every velodrome in the world currently runs races anti-clockwise. But the UCI Technical Committee today announced that from the beginning of 2015, velodromes in the Southern hemisphere will run races in a clockwise direction.

It’s all to do with Coriolis forces, and evening the playing field between southern and northern hemisphere velodromes, according to the UCI.

The Coriolis force is why cyclones rotate anti-clockwise on the northern hemisphere and clockwise on the southern hemisphere. An extremely careful statistical analysis of race times in the northern and southern hemisphere velodromes has revealed that the Coriolis effect is responsible for a small disadvantage in record attempts in the southern hemosphere.

“It’s surprising how very small things affect track racing times,” said Dr Allan Smithee of the University of Sydney, who analysed race times in a paper published in the Journal of Esoteric Sports Technology.

“We’ve known for a while that small changes in humidity affect track times,” he added, “so it’s not too startling that the Coriolis force slows down racers south of the equator. After all, it’s strong enough to affect which way water flows down the plug.”

What is surprising, though, is how quickly the UCI has acted on this discovery. “It’s not like the UCI to let scientific facts and sense get in the way of centuries of tradition,” commented Dr Smithee, himself a Cat 2 racer. “But it’s great to see them taking this simple step to level the playing field.”

Australia’s track team stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the change. Gennie Sheer, spokesperson for Cycling Australia said, “As our track team is called the Cyclones, it makes perfect sense that they will now go in the right direction on their home tracks.”

27 user comments

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Very witty.


phy2sll's picture

posted by phy2sll [26 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:31

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Like it, like it!! Rolling On The Floor


posted by Grizzerly [120 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:39

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Ahahahahaaaaaa aces Rolling On The Floor

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [542 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:41

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shit you got me Rolling On The Floor

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [132 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:41

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Why not just make them ride backwards, surely that's easier?


posted by rich22222 [109 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:45

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Damn it got caught there !! Very funny.

posted by usedtobefaster [90 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:46

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Got me too Wink

posted by caaad10 [109 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:47

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I was soooo close to being caught ... Smile

nice one chaps Applause

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
1st April 2014 - 9:57

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got caught until i read the comments and remembered what day it was. Very good! Laughing

posted by SevenHills [148 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:06

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Bonus points for Allan Smithee usage.

Joselito's picture

posted by Joselito [133 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:06

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Rolling On The Floor Pure class.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1048 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:16

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Well it's about time.

DavidC's picture

posted by DavidC [44 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:20

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nice!! got me too until I read the comments.

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [148 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:26

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Good job you allowed comments from those quicker than I, you had me.

Off-topic, I'd never heard of the Coriolis effect until I played some first-person-shooter game on the playstation. There's a sniper level where you have to aim off the target, ostensibly to compensate for the Coriolis effect. Weird.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3103 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:28

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Veeerrrryyy good. Party

posted by 6654henry [56 posts]
1st April 2014 - 10:42

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You well and truly had me there - great job!

posted by batch2103 [6 posts]
1st April 2014 - 12:13

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science, cycling and the UCI all in one.
hat sir, hat.

posted by mrchrispy [285 posts]
1st April 2014 - 12:23

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How ridiculous! Let me explain, the Coriolis force is so....

oh wait. {checks calendar}

AndrewRH's picture

posted by AndrewRH [45 posts]
1st April 2014 - 12:34

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Excellent. Well played Road.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [824 posts]
1st April 2014 - 13:42

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In case anyone's interested, in the Independent every April's fool for the last few years BMW have always had a joke ad which are usually quite well done, and the best cycling one I've seen was a few years ago in the comic (CW) with Tom Boonens cobbled rollers for the classics preparation.

posted by usedtobefaster [90 posts]
1st April 2014 - 13:47

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You got me going in circles there!

harman_mogul's picture

posted by harman_mogul [121 posts]
1st April 2014 - 13:53

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Congratulations on a real scoop for road.cc. Australia's Cycling Tips have completely missed this story. In their own back yard too. Instead they are giving us this:



posted by stevelo [5 posts]
1st April 2014 - 14:48

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Thank you all, thankyewverymuch Smile

Props to the guys at CyclingTips - lot of work there, and very funny stuff.

John Stevenson's picture

posted by John Stevenson [1025 posts]
1st April 2014 - 15:57

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TOO Obvious! everyone know's that Australia doesn't have any universities!

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.


posted by themartincox [339 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:45

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Good one road.cc - had me going,
Call me gullible but this one too: http://www.wheelsuckers.co.uk/profiles/blogs/germans-to-launch-autonomou...

posted by Team Rux [21 posts]
1st April 2014 - 18:11

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Cycling forum with a sense of humour , how refreshing Applause

posted by trevisotart [14 posts]
1st April 2014 - 21:32

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notfastenough wrote:
Off-topic, I'd never heard of the Coriolis effect until I played some first-person-shooter game on the playstation. There's a sniper level where you have to aim off the target, ostensibly to compensate for the Coriolis effect. Weird.

Ahh, that sounds like One Shot, One Kill in the first Modern Warfare game. Bloody hard if I remember rightly, particularly on Veteran difficulty!

posted by parksey [215 posts]
1st April 2014 - 21:37

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