A range of track cycling disciplines. Two (or occasionally more) riders start at equidistant points around the track and attempt to catch each other within a prescribed distance. If one catches the other they are the winner and the race ends; if neither does so, the rider who completes the distance in the fastest time wins.

The world championship and Olympic versions are the individual pursuit for single riders, and the team pursuit for teams of four (of whom three are required to finish). Standard senior distances are 4000m for men and 3000m for women (a separate World Championship event for professional men over 5000m was dropped in the early 1990s); in less important meetings this will be rounded to a whole number of laps of whatever size track it happens to be. The "Olympic sprint" for three riders (a world championship discipline) and the "Italian pursuit" (for an arbitrary number, usually 6 or so, at local track meetings) are a variant on this principle where a team starts at full strength but each rider pulls off in turn after completing a lap at the front until only one remains for the final lap.

In practise, most pursuit tournaments are now just time trials, with most riders eliminated in a first qualification round decided on time alone, and just the last 4 or so going on to semis and a final (or, still worse, just a final and a 3rd/4th place rideoff), thus removing the last vestige of tactical considerations from the event.

The pursuit chould not confused with the chase, which is another name (from the German Jagd) for the madison. In the UK the term "Australian pursuit" is also occasionally used, meaning a handicap road race.

Pur*suit" (?), n. [F. poursuite, fr. poursuivre. See Pursue, v. t.]


The act of following or going after; esp., a following with haste, either for sport or in hostility; chase; prosecution; as, the pursuit of game; the pursuit of an enemy.


Weak we are, and can not shun pursuit. Shak.


A following with a view to reach, accomplish, or obtain; endeavor to attain to or gain; as, the pursuit of knowledge; the pursuit of happiness or pleasure.


Course of business or occupation; continued employment with a view to same end; as, mercantile pursuits; a literary pursuit.

4. Law



That pursuit for tithes ought, and of ancient time did pertain to the spiritual court. Fuller.

Curve of pursuit Geom., a curve described by a point which is at each instant moving towards a second point, which is itself moving according to some specified law.


© Webster 1913.

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