Wednesday 5 – Saturday 8 September 2012
Brands Hatch, Kent
Number of competitors
225: 155 men and 70 women across Road and Track
Each country is limited to 14 men and seven women across both disciplines.
B – tandem
H1–H4 – athletes use a hand cycle
T1–T2 – athletes use a tricycle
C1–C5 – athletes use a bicycle, often with modifications
The lower the athlete’s class number, the greater the impact of their impairment on their ability to compete.
Number of medal events
32 – men’s and women’s Road Races, men’s and women’s Time Trials across a variety of classifications, and a Mixed Team Relay.
Field of play
The Road Race course is an 8km loop including the Brands Hatch circuit and surrounding roads.
History of Road Cycling at the Paralympics
Road Cycling was introduced as a Paralympic sport at the Stoke Mandeville/New York 1984 Paralympics.
The 32 medal events in different classifications that make up the Paralympic Road Cycling competition feature athletes with a visual impairment, cerebral palsy, amputations or other physical disabilities competing on bicycles, tricycles, tandems and hand cycles.
There are four types of cycles used in Paralympic Cycling:
– A tandem is used by athletes with visual impairment; the athlete sits on the back of the tandem with a sighted pilot at the front.
– A hand cycle, as the name suggests, has pedals operated by hand. It has two wheels at the back and one at the front.
– A tricycle is normally used by athletes whose balance would make them unable to race on a two-wheeled bicycle.
– A bicycle is used by all other athletes, often with modifications.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the International Cycling Union (UCI), governing body for the sport.
The men's and women's Road Race and Team events are straight finals. In each event all athletes start together, and the first athlete/team to cross the finish line is the winner.
In the Time Trials, athletes start at 60-second intervals. The one to complete the course in the fastest time is the winner.
The Team Relay events will be conducted as mass start events on a looped course. Each team will consist of three riders, with no baton or other physical contact required to enact the relays. The race will be six laps long, with each rider doing two laps.
Read more about Paralympic Road Cycling classification
All of the Road Cycling races are officiated by International and National Technical Officials ITOs and NTOs). They are responsible for the running of the race in accordance with the UCI rules. For the Paralympic Games Road Cycling events, there will be six ITOs and 10 NTOs.
Keys to success
Road Cycling events are extremely tactical, so as well as the immense strength and stamina athletes will need to complete the course, the winning athletes are those who have judged their pace and positioning to the smallest detail.
Without the stamina required, riders are in danger of getting left out of any breakaway groups and be left back with the main pack. Races can also be crowded in places – bumps and crashes are not uncommon, and athletes need to stay alert to keep out of trouble.
Road Race: For the Road Races, all riders start together, and the first to cross the finish line wins gold.
Time Trial: The Road Cycling Time Trials differ from the Road Races in that the riders set off at intervals, and the winner is the rider with the fastest time over the course.
The best place to find out more about mountain biking is to check the websites for the international federation (UCI) and your National Olympic Committee.