Two opposing teams start on either side of the track. The winner is the team who either catches the other team, or records the fastest time over the full distance.
The men’s Team Pursuit is 4km, with four athletes in each team; the women’s event is 3km with teams of three riders.
A team is caught when the opposing team (or three out of the four in the men’s race) comes within 1m of the other team.
The Team Pursuit starts with a qualifying round. Teams are seeded in the first round according to their qualifying times – the fastest team competes against the fourth fastest, second competes against third, fifth against eighth and sixth against seventh. The winners of the two heats between the top four teams advance to the finals; the remaining six teams are ranked according to their times from the first round, with the best two teams competing for bronze.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the International Cycling Union (UCI), governing body for the sport.
Find out more about the Men's Track Cycling Team Pursuit and Women's Track Cycling Team Pursuit competitions at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.