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Para cycling

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Para-Cycling Video

Para cycling is cycling for people with impairments resulting from a health condition (disability). Para athletes with physical impairments either compete on handcycles, tricycles or bicycles, while those with a visual impairment compete on tandems with a sighted ‘pilot’. Para cycling is divided into track and road events, with seven events in total.

Seven Para athletes have been selected to represent New Zealand at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, including:

Read about the Para cycling team selection here!


Road Events
Para cycling road events are held for men and women and for all functional classes (an outline of the classes is provided under ‘Classification detail’ below):

  • Road race (men and women)
  • Individual time trial (men and women)
  • Handcycling relay

Medal events: 33 in total comprised of 19 men’s events, 13 women’s events and one mixed event.
When: Flamengo Park, Copacabana.
Where: Wednesday 14 September to Saturday 17 September 2016.
More info: www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/road-cycling 

Track Events
Para cycling track events are held for men and women, but only for the functional classes within the Standard Bicycle ‘C1 – 5’ and Tandem ‘B’ classifications (an outline of the classes is provided under ‘Classification detail’ below):

  • Team sprint (men and women, mixed event)
  • 500m time trial (men and women) or kilometre time trial (men and women)
  • Individual pursuit (men and women).

Medal events: 17 in total comprised of nine men’s events, seven women’s events and one mixed event.
When: Thursday 8 September to Sunday 11 September 2016.
Where: Rio Olympic Velodrome.
More info: www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/track-cycling 

As in the Olympic competition, the track events are divided into time trial, pursuit and sprint events. The race format and distances vary according to the event, but the dynamics are similar to Olympic track events.

Rio 2016 Para-Cycling

New Zealand has had an extremely strong representation of Para cyclists on the world stage, including the multiple world champion tandem pairing of Emma Foy and Laura Thompson, who are the current world title holders and world record-holders in the individual pursuit. Emma and Laura have also won multiple medals at other World Championship and World Cup events in both road and track events. Kate Horan is another New Zealand star to look out for, currently ranked second in the world for C4 women on the track.

The Kiwi Stars of Para-Cycling

(since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games)

GOLD – 2 medals 

  • Women's 500m Time Trial LC3-4/CP3 (Beijing 2008) – Paula Tesoriero
  • Women's Individual Pursuit B (London 2012) – Phillipa Gray/Laura Thompson

SILVER – 2 medals 

  • Mixed 1km Time Trial LC3 (Sydney 2000) – Mark Inglis
  • Women's Time Trial B (London 2012) – Phillipa Gray/Laura Thompson

BRONZE – 6 medals 

  • Men's Road Race/Time Trial Bicycle LC3 (Athens 2004) – Paul Jesson
  • Women's Individual Time Trial B VI 1-3 (Beijing 2008) – Jayne Parsons/Annaliisa Farrell
  • Women's Individual Time Trial LC3-4/CP3 (Beijing 2008) – Paula Tesoriero
  • Women's Individual Pursuit LC3-4/CP3 (Beijing 2008) – Paula Tesoriero
  • Women's 1km Time Trial B (London 2012) – Phillipa Gray/Laura Thompson
  • Women's Individual Pursuit C5 (London 2012) – Fiona Southorn
New Zealand Results in Para-Cycling
1984 Para cycling made its debut at the co-hosted Paralympic Games shared between New York and Stoke Mandeville in England. Only road races for Para cyclists with cerebral palsy were included.
1992 A number of different impairment classes introduced to the Para cycling programme for the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games.
1996 Track cycling added to the Paralympic programme at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics.
2004 Handcycling introduced on to the schedule at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
2007 First UCI World Para cycling Championship took place on the track. The road version was born two years later. 
2012 At the London 2012 Paralympics, 225 Paralympians competed in 18 medal events on the track and 225 more competed in 32 medal events on the road. A total of 25 nations won medals across the various Para cycling events.
Para-Cycling Timeline

In Para cycling, there are four sport classes with varying classifications – Handcycles, Tricycles, Bicycles and Tandems. For more details, please download the following information sheet.

In Para sport classification provides the structure for fair and equitable competition to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus – the same factors that account for success in sport for able-bodied athletes. The Para sport classification assessment process identifies the eligibility of each Para athlete’s impairment, and groups them into a sport class according to the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairment. Classification is sport-specific as an eligible impairment affects a Para athlete’s ability to perform in different sports to a different extent. Each Para sport has a different classification system. 

Interested in knowing more?

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