The road races are among the most gruelling events of any discipline at an Olympic Games.
Athletes race in national teams of up to five riders each (up to four in the women’s race), but medals are only awarded to the first three across the finish line.
The event mirrors the format of a one-day classic. Men cover a route of approximately 240km, with women racing over approximately 140km.
The road races for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will start and finish at the Imperial Palace Garden in the Heritage Zone in the city. A temporary facility to host around 1,000 spectators is expected to be built. The route and total distance for the races has not yet been announced but recent road races have been approximately 245km for men and 140km for women.
Road races at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are currently scheduled to take place on Saturday 26 July (men’s road race) and Sunday 27 July (women’s road race).
With Tokyo eight hours ahead of British Summer Time, it is believed that races will take place at around 3am-9.15am (men’s race) and 5am-9.15am (women’s race) for UK audiences.
- The men’s road race has been held 22 times at Olympic Games. The event was first run at the very first Olympics in Athens in 1896. The women’s road race has taken place nine times, with Los Angeles hosting the first in 1984.
- The current men’s Olympic champion is Greg van Avermaet of Belgium. The reigning women’s Olympic champion is Anna van der Breggan of the Netherlands.
- Only one British woman has ever won the Olympic road race – Nicole Cooke, who overcame the rain in Beijing to take gold in 2008.
- Lizzie Armitstead won Team GB's first medal of the 2012 Olympics in the women's road race - claiming silver on the streets of London.
- There has never been a male British Olympic road race champion. The best British performance in the road race was in the second ever road race in Amsterdam in 1928, as Frank Southall took silver in a race contested under time-trial rules.
- There have been three British male bronze medal winners in the road race. Edward Battell came third in Athens in 1896, as did Alan Jackson in Melbourne in 1956 and Max Sciandri at Altanta in 1996.