Two teams of four start on opposite sides of the track and must pursue their opponents, overtaking them to win or riding the fastest time when the third rider of the team crosses the finish line.
The Great Britain quartet of Ed Clancy, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins smashed Australia’s world record twice in 24 hours at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and Team GB is hoping to do it all over again when the event starts on Thursday.
Before 2008 Britain had not won a gold medal in team pursuit since the original Olympics in London 100 years earlier.
Our cycling correspondent Brendan Gallagher talked to the man who has overseen the transformation of Team GB into a world-class outfit.
“When you have two or three exceptional teams going at it hard, there’s always a good chance the times will start tumbling,” Shane Sutton, the head coach of the GB track squad, said.