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Para road cycling

Paralympic cycling was developed in the early 1980s in the form of tandem cycling for vision impaired athletes, with a sighted pilot at the front. Since then, the sport has opened up to accommodate other disabilities, expanding the types of cycle used: standard bicycles, handcycles, tricycles and tandems. There’s a cycle for each different type of disability, adapted to suit the athlete’s needs.

Paralympic road cycling made its Paralympic debut at the New York-Stoke Mandeville Games in 1984. It is divided into three types of event: road race, time trail and relay.

Summary 

Competition distances account for the abilities of the athletes’ different classification according to their disability. Road races are held across distances between 78km and 125km for tandem riders, 37km and 80km for handcycles, 48km and 100km for bicycles and 26km and 40km for tricycles. In the relay race, mixed teams are made up of three athletes who must each complete two or three laps, depending on the length of the course. Time trials are held on a course between 10km and 40km according to athlete category.

The Netherlands took home the most medals in the sport from the Tokyo Paralympic Games, followed by France and Great Britain.

Athletes use different bicycles according to their impairment classification. In solo events, riders use standard racing bicycles with minor modifications where needed depending on their disability, with adjustments made to the location of the brakes, gear changes or chainset, for example. The sport is practised by athletes that have undergone amputations or have limited movement of upper or lower limbs. 

A handcycle has three wheels and riders use the strength of their upper limbs to operate the chainset. It is used by cyclists with spinal cord injuries or one or both lower limbs amputated. 

Tricycles are used by riders with locomotor dysfunction and balance issues (such as cerebral palsy or hemiplegia).  Tandems are used by athletes who are blind or vision impaired who compete with a sighted pilot.

Eligible impairments 

Vision impairments, amputated upper or lower limbs and equivalent, physical disabilities limiting movement of the upper or lower limbs (such as cerebral palsy or hemiplegia). 

Events in 2024

  • C1-2-3 road race (women’s-men’s)
  • C4-5 road race (women’s-men’s)
  • H1-2 road race (men’s)
  • H1-2-3-4 road race (women’s)
  • H3 road race (men’s)
  • H4 road race (men’s)
  • H5 road race (women’s-men’s)
  • T1-2 road race (women’s-men’s)
  • B road race (women’s-men’s)
  • C1-2-3 time trial (women’s)
  • C1 time trial (men’s)
  • C2 time trial (men’s)
  • C3 time trial (men’s)
  • C4 time trial (women’s-men’s)
  • C5 time trial (women’s-men’s)
  • H1 time trial (men’s)
  • H2 time trial (men’s)
  • H3 time trial (men’s)
  • H4 time trial (mens)
  • H5 time trial (men’s)
  • H1-2-3 time trial (women’s)
  • H4-5 time trial (women’s)
  • T1-2 time trial (women’s-men’s)
  • B time trial (women’s-men’s)
  • H1-5 team relay (mixed)

Venue in 2024

The Paris 2024 venue for paralympic road cycling has not yet been revealed.

International federation

Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) : www.uci.org

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