Sport week: Introduction to cycling

Road events joined the Paralympic programme at New York/Stoke Mandeville 1984, 12 years before the track events did, in Atlanta. 27 Jun 2016 By IPC

Para cycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will feature 230 athletes who will compete in 18 medal events on the track and 33 medal events on the road. After athletics and swimming, it will be the sport with most medals up for grabs.

The competition programme includes sprints, individual pursuits, the 1,000m time trial, road races and road time trials for both individuals and teams.

The track Para cycling events will be contested at the Olympic Velodrome, whilst the road events will take place in Pontal, a facility located on the coast.

Road Para cycling made its Paralympic debut at New York/Stoke Mandeville 1984 and has been contested at every Games since. Track Para cycling entered the Paralympic programme 12 years after, in Atlanta.

The sport was developed in the 1980s, and was first open to visually impaired athletes who competed in tandems with a sighted pilot.

Over the following years, Para cycling started to include those with cerebral palsy, amputations and other physical impairments, who compete on bicycles, tricycles and hand cycles.

There are five sport classes for hand cycling, two for tricycle and five for bicycle, whilst the three sport classes for the tandem compete in one event.

Athletes participate in World Cups, world and regional Championships throughout the year.

Para cycling is governed by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.

Helpful links

IPC Para cycling webpage

UCI Para cycling webpage

Rio 2016 Para cycling road webpage

Rio 2016 Para cycling track webpage


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.