Para-cycling at London 2012: About the track event
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    About the event


B – tandem

H1–H4 – athletes use a handcycle (Road only)

T1–T2 – athletes use a tricycle (Road only)

C1–C5 – athletes use a bicycle, often with modifications

The lower the athlete’s class number, the greater the impact of impairment on their ability to compete.

Number of medal events

18: men’s and women’s Individual Pursuit and 1km/500m Time Trial, men’s Individual Sprint, and Team Sprint across a variety of classifications.

Field of play

The track at the Velodrome is a 250m oval, banked from 12 degrees at its shallowest point to 42 degrees at its steepest.

The basics

There are 18 Paralympic Track Cycling events (10 for men, seven for women and one mixed event) testing speed, endurance and teamwork.

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 handcycle, 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.

Competition format

The format differs for each event – Individual Pursuit, Sprint (Team and Individual), Time Trial.

The Individual Sprint is a race between two riders at a time over three laps of the track. The two riders start side by side and on the starting signal set off, usually very slowly, before building up to a full-on sprint finish. It is an extremely tactical event: riders usually do not want to be in the front for the full race, which is why they may slow down and use the full width of the track.

The men’s Individual Sprint event starts with a 200m time trial to determine the draw for the 16 riders. From then on the competition is a knockout, going to quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final, which are all the best of three heats.

The Team Sprint starts with a qualifying round with the best two teams going forward to the final. The mixed Team Sprint event (classes C1–5) comprising men and women will be contested by teams of three riders. The two fastest teams in the qualifying round will race for the gold medal, and the teams with the third and fourth fastest times will race for the bronze medal.

In the Individual Pursuit, two opposing riders start on either side of the track. The winner is the rider who either catches the other, or records the fastest time over the full distance.

The men’s Pursuit is four kilometres long; the women’s event is three kilometres.

The Pursuit starts with a qualifying round, At the end of the qualification phase, the two riders with the fastest times will race for the gold medal, and the riders with the third and fourth fastest times will race for the bronze medal.

The Time Trial is a straightforward race – 1km for men, 500m for women. Athletes take to the track alone and the fastest time wins the gold medal.


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