Paris 2024

Paralympic Games

28 August - 8 September

Paris 2024: Introduction to Para cycling

Paris 2024 Paralympics will feature up to 220 athletes competing in 51 medal events 08 Apr 2024
Two male Para cyclists compete
More than 50 medal events will be contested in Para cycling at the Paris 2024 Paralympics
ⒸThomas Lovelock/OIS

Welcome to Week 7 of Paris 2024 Sport Weeks – and everything you need to know about Para cycling. Para cyclists will take the Paralympics by storm when the Games open on 28 August. There are two disciplines in Para cycling: road and track, and a lot to look forward to. 

Brief history of Para cycling 

Para cycling has been on the Paralympic programme for 40 years.  

When road Para cycling entered the Paralympic programme in 1984, a total of 22 athletes battled for glory in seven events. Norway topping the medals table with three golds and a silver, followed by France with two golds at the Games held in New York, USA, and Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain.  

Four years later in Seoul, the number of events remained the same, but the number of participants nearly doubled, to 40.  

Over the years, Para cycling started to include athletes with different physical impairments. Track Para cycling made its Paralympic debut at Atlanta 1996 and has been contested at every Games since. 

US cyclist with one arm competing on the track during the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics
Track cycling made its Paralympic debut at Atlanta 1996 © Getty Images

The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games confirmed Para cycling as a major sport, with more than 200 athletes competing. Australians thrilled home crowds with impressive results that helped the nation top the medals table. 

Germany is the most successful nation in road Para cycling with more than 20 gold medals, followed by the USA and Great Britain. Great Britain has captured more than 30 gold medals in track Para cycling. 

What to watch in Para cycling 

Athletes from around the world will showcase their speed and technique when cycling events start on 29 August, the day after the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony. Road events will take place at an outdoor circuit and track events are held at a velodrome.  

Road races include bicycles, handcycles, tricycles and tandems, while track events include bicycles and tandems. Athletes race bikes in sport classes against athletes whose impairments have a similar impact on their ability to cycle.  

Six athletes compete on handcycles. The athlete leading the pack is wearing a South African jersey.
Handcycles are one type of bike used in road Para cycling © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

There are five sport classes for athletes who can use a standard bicycle, C1-C5, with the numbers indicating the different impact of the impairment and activity limitation on the ability to ride a bicycle. 

Handcycling also has five classes, H1-H5. The two classes in tricycle races are for athletes with balance co-ordination impairments. 

Cyclists with a vision impairment race tandem with a sighted pilot in front.  

Memorable Paralympic moments 

When Para cycling made its Paralympic debut in 1984, Norway’s Mortem Fromyr and France’s Dominique Molle were the most decorated cyclists, claiming two golds each.  

After competing in Para swimming at four Games, Great Britain’s Sarah Storey won her first gold medal in Para cycling at Beijing 2008, opening a new chapter in her golden career. The eight-time Paralympian has captured 28 medals, including 12 golds in Para cycling. 

A female Para cyclist celebrates by holding the British flag
Sarah Storey is the most successful female Paralympic cyclist of all time © Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

At London 2012, the Mixed Team Relay was introduced to the Paralympic programme, creating an exciting finale to the road racing. The US team of Marianna Davis, Matthew Updike and Oscar Sanchez won the spectacular event, which saw each team member ride three laps of a 3 km circuit in turn. 

At Rio 2016, home favourite Lauro César Chaman became the first Brazilian to claim a cycling medal at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games. He won the hearts of the crowd by claiming two medals on the road – a silver in the Road Race C4-5 and bronze in the Time Trial C5. 

Also in the Brazilian city, former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi won Paralympic gold in the H5 road time trial on the eve of the 15-year anniversary of the motorsport crash that cost him both his legs. The Italian also captured gold in the mixed road team relay and silver in the road race.  

male Para cyclist Alex Zanardi raises his arms in celebration on the podium
Alex Zinardi's triumph at Rio 2016 is one of Paralympic cycling's most emotional moments © Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

Five years later, Paralympic debutants took the spotlight at Tokyo 2020. Australia’s Paige Greco, a 24-year-old lived up to expectations by winning the Individual Pursuit C1-3 in a world record time (3:50.815). Her compatriot Amanda Reid, 24, also joined the top of the podium in her specialty event - Time Trial C1-3. 

Meanwhile, Keiko took double gold, winning both the Time Trial and Road Race C1-3, at a home Games aged 50. 

Japanese woman waves with gold medal around her neck
50-year-old Kiko Sugiura celebrated home gold at Tokyo 2020 © Getty Images


Paris 2024 programme 

Up to 220 athletes will compete in 51 medal events when the Paris 2024 Paralympics open on 28 August. There will be 17 track events and 34 road events (15 road races and 19 time trials). 

The full list of medal events can be found here: 2024_03_27 Paris QR_v1.9.1_0.pdf ( 

Paris 2024 venue 

Para cycling track competitions will take centre stage at Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines Velodrome in the city of Montigny-le-Bretonneux. The ultra-modern venue is perfect to showcase the talent and technique of Para cyclists from around the world. 

Since it opened in 2014, it has hosted several international events, including the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, and is also the home of the French Cycling Federation. 

Visual graphic of the Para track cycling venue at Paris 2024
The Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines Velodrome will host track cycling © Paris 2024

The road races will start and finish in Clichy-sous-Bois, a commune in the suburbs of Paris. Athletes will make a certain number of laps based on the type of event and classification.  

The 13.9 km route, which includes a 140m climb, will see Para cyclists race from Clichy-sous-Bois to Coubron, before reaching Seine-et-Marne. The particularly challenging sections will start when they enter the town of Courtry. From there, the riders will head back, taking the “strategic road” alongside Bois de Bernouille Forest. 

The team mixed relay routes will also start and finish in Clichy-sous-Bois. 


Learn more about the road racing course here:  Paris 2024 - Paralympic marathon and Para cycling routes 

Book your tickets for the Paralympic Games by visiting the Paris 2024 ticketing website.