An omnium (from Latin: of all, belonging to all) is a multiple race event in track cycling. Historically the omnium has had a variety of formats. In recent years, road racing has adopted the term to describe multi-day races that feature the three primary road race events.
The omnium was re-introduced into the World Championships as a five race format for men in 2007 and for women in 2009. The omnium was changed in 2010 by the UCI to include the elimination race and the distances of the events were lengthened to favor endurance cyclists.
The omnium replaces the individual pursuit, the points race, and the Madison at the Summer Olympic Games beginning in 2012. The change received some criticism from cyclist Rebecca Romero, who was left unable to defend her Olympic title.
Currently, and at the 2012 Olympics, the omnium as defined by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) consists of the following six events:
- Flying lap (against the clock)
- Points race
- 30 km for elite men, 20 km for elite women, 15 km for junior men, 10 km for junior women
- Elimination race
- Individual pursuit
- 4,000 metres for elite men, 3,000 metres for junior men and elite women, and 2,000 metres for junior women
- Scratch race
- Time trial
- 1 km men, 500 metres women
Points are awarded in reverse order. The rider who finishes first in an event receives one point, the second rider will get two points and so on. The rider with the fewest points after all events is the winner. When two riders are tied on points, the combined time of the three time trials will break the tie amongst the riders. A rider must have completed every event in the omnium.
Road Racing Omnium
A road race omnium consists of a time trial, a criterium, and a mass-start road race - typically held across a weekend or other 2-3 day period. Points are awarded to the top finishers at each event and totaled at the end of the event. The overall winner for the event is chosen based on the number of accumulated points. Often, organizers will stipulate that riders must complete each event in order to qualify for the overall prize.