After the first year without a Little 500 since the introduction of the event in 1951 because of COVID-19 in 2020, the IU Student Foundation organized its annual Team Pursuit this weekend at Bill Armstrong Stadium as a part of the Spring Series in the lead-up to the 2021 race on May 26.
For 2021, the Team Pursuit competition will take the place of the usual “Quals” weekend to determine which teams will compete in the 2021 Little 500. IUSF will be adopting measures from the IU Medical Response Team and the Monroe County Health Department to ensure the safest possible environment for riders, coaches and all other involved parties according to the IUSF website.
These measures will significantly limit attendance inside Bill Armstrong Stadium for all events in 2021. For both Team Pursuit and the Little 500 races, the only people with access to the track will be competing riders and one coach per competing team. Participants not actively competing will be required to wear a mask and keep socially distant.
Racing got underway on Friday afternoon only to be quickly halted by inclimate weather and then ultimately postponed to Sunday morning. When racing finally resumed, the fight for the top of the leaderboard was awfully tight. On the men’s leaderboard each of the top 7 finishers were separated by a margin of less than 30 seconds, with JETBLACH ultimately winning the event with a four lap time of 9:25.67 with Cutters and Chi Alpha trailing closely behind with final times of 09:32.42 and 09:39.30 respectively.
On the women’s side of the event, Alpha Xi Delta took the 2021 Team Pursuit title with a final finish time of 10:36.51.Theta Phi Alpha finished second with a time of 11:01.74, and Delta Gamma came in third with a 11:10.67 finish.
In both the men’s and women’s competitions, all participating teams from Team Pursuit will compete in the Little 500 race on May 26 to close out the 2021 spring cycling season. Delta Gamma, Theta Phi Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Gamma, Melanzana, Alpha Xi Delta and Theta Phi Alpha in the women’s division and Gray Goat, Bears, JETBLACH, and Cutters in the men’s division all fielded multiple teams in Team Pursuit and will be limited to a singular competing team in the final race.
The 2021 Little 500 races will take place on May 26, with the women’s teams competing at noon and the men’s teams racing at 4 p.m. Attendance will be closed to the general public, but IUSF will livestream both races at https://broadcast.iu.edu.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to properly reflect the Team Pursuit results and which teams qualify for the Little 500 races.