I thought after last night’s stunning win by Team GB in the team sprint at Rio 2016 that I would do a little calculation for future reference.
The winning time was 42.440 seconds and that was to complete three laps of the 250 metre Olympic Velodrome. That works out at roughly 63.618 kilometres per hour, or 17.67 metres per second.
17.67 metres per second means that the rider is travelling 1.767 metres in one tenth of a second and that is a pretty close approximation to the length of an average bike. So, to win by “only" one tenth of a second you are a full bike length ahead of your closest rival.
To put that into perspective let’s imagine that a team was beaten by a margin of two seconds, they would, in distance terms, be 20 x 1.767 = 35 METRES behind the winners!