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Even though these guys look stopped, and they are, they're actually racing for a world title!

Some one has dug up some very interesting footage of a Sprint Match World Championship race from 1990 that is bizarrely slow for the first few laps, with the racers even coming to a complete stand-still at one point, before ending with an incredibly fast last lap.

Many things have changed over the years but here’s a sport that hasn’t changed much, few know exist and even fewer particpate in, yet still lives on in relative obscurity.

The 1990 World Chamionship race:

The 2006 World Chamionship race:

And sometimes, hitting those high-speeds doesn’t end up so well:

The Now I Know daily newsletter writes:

Webster’s Dictionary defines “sprint” as “to run or go at top speed especially over a short distance.  As an example, the dictionary states “[t]he bicycle racers sprinted for the finish line.”  When we think of sprints, we think of races like the 100 meter dash — where speed rules.  But when it comes to bicycle sprints — sprint races, that is — that’s not quite the case. Bicycle sprints — sometimes calls “match sprints” — are three lap races pitting two cyclists against each other.  The races are typically 1,000 meters (1 kilometer) long although smaller arenas feature 600 meter races.  Cyclists are able to bike the 1,000 meters in short order: the world record in completing the distance is a mere 58.875 seconds. But many match sprints can last much longer than that.  The one seen below?  It lasted nearly five and a half minutes.


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