After having watched the points race (final event in the men's omnium
per the new rules), I went number-crunching, comparing the results under the new rules with those under the old rules (well aware that riders' tactics would have been different then, but bear with me). Plus the new rules with a tweak, where riders get 40-1 points according to their placement in the points race as well.Conclusions
1) The old rules and my tweaked 'new-ish' rules give exactly the same result
. Not really a conclusion of any worth, just goes to show I'm not as mathemically intelligent.
2) The new rules favour the points race. By A LOT. And I mean A LOT
Aaron Gate went from an 11th place (old rules) to a 5th place (new rules), and only 8 points off a medal.
Other riders profited from the new rules too (e.g. Tsishkou), just not as much. Maybe Gate was simply one of the few clever enough to figure out a tactic working perfectly under the new rules
. It might look that way: He was 20th in the Kilo and 15th in the Flying Lap - saving his strength for the final (and overwhelmingly important) event?
3) The new rules devalue both the points race as a stand-alone event, and the other five disciplines:
In the final points race, the top riders will often only defend their lead, and the leading rider before the points race in particular really only has to shadow his closest rivals, not do anything himself.
And, as shown very well by the example of Gate, who scored almost half of his points in the points race (and much of the remainder in the scratch race), it seems to pay off to focus on that final discipline. Much more than I find reasonable. The omnium should, in my opinion, value each discipline equally much.
I understand that the rule change makes the final discipline of the omnium more 'exciting' for the crowd to watch compared to the old rules when it ended with the Kilo. I just don't think it really is that much more exciting, on the contrary: Gaviria's win was never actually in danger, with all challenges coming up well short; and Boudat's efforts to gain a lap and get on the podium were eventually for naught, pushing the Frenchman further down the standings than he was before. It's an all-or-nothing approach.
In the next post, I'll give you some numbers and tables to
pour over intently
lull you into sleep.