Athletes with cerebral palsy compete on road and track using standard racing bicycles. Athletes with balance difficulties compete on tricycles, but only in Road events. Athletes with a visual impairment compete on tandem bicycles, both Road and Track, with a sighted pilot. Amputees and riders with other permanent physical disabilities, compete on Road and Track, using standard racing bicycles. Athletes who are wheelchair users and are unable to ride a standard racing bicycle, or tricycle, due to severe lower limb disabilities, compete in Road events using three-wheeled handcycles. For all classes, approved disability specific adaptations are permitted, if necessary for the improvement of safety.
Kilometer Time Trial: The 1,000m individual Time Trial is an event for bicycles and tandems, both men and women. Each athlete competes alone, against the clock for the distance, from a standing start. Bicycles are held by a mechanical starting gate, but tandems have to be hand held by a start judge commissaire. The starting order is seeded by the commissaries, with the fastest rider last to start. Each event winner is either the rider with the best time, or in events with mixed disability groups, the rider with the best time when compared to a time standard for his or her class.
Individual Pursuit: The individual Pursuit is also an event for bicycles and tandems, both men and women. Two bicycles or two tandems start on diametrically opposite sides of the track, each one positioned in the middle of one of the track's straights. The bicycles are held by a starting gate and tandems are hand held. During the race, each bicycle or tandem tries to catch the other, or to record the fastest time for the full race distance. The event consists of three rounds. The first round is a qualifying round to select the eight fastest bicycles or tandems, on the basis of their times. These eight qualifiers are paired for the second round with fastest racing against slowest. The four winners of the second round compete in the final round. The two fastest winning times of the second round ride for gold and silver medals, while the other two ride for the bronze medal and fourth place. There are two distances; 3,000m or 4,000m, which are open to different classes.
Sprint: The Sprint race, for both men and women, consists of three competition rounds for blind and visually impaired athletes on tandems with a sighted pilot. In the qualifying round, tandems are individually timed over the last 200m of the track from a flying start. These times select the eight fastest tandems and create a ranking. In the second and final rounds of the competition, the important thing is to win each race, because the riders compete as opponents and start together in two-up matches, over a best-of-three series of races. In each race, the winner is the first tandem to reach the finish line.
Team Sprint: The team Sprint is a men's bicycle event, where two teams of three athletes compete against each other over three laps of the track from a standing start. Each rider must lead for one complete lap, with the two teams starting in opposite straights of the track. The leading rider of each team is held at the start in a starting gate. The other two riders are hand held. The event consists of three rounds. The first round is a qualifying round to select the eight fastest teams on the basis of their times. These eight qualifying teams are paired for the second round with fastest racing against slowest. The four winning teams from the second round compete in the final round. The two fastest winning teams from the second round ride for gold and silver medals while the other two teams ride for the bronze medal and fourth place. For all IPC team Sprint competitions, the maximum is one sprint team of three athletes per nation, plus substitutes, using a combination of athletes with cerebral palsy and amputees to a specific formula.
Individual Road Race: Road races, for both men and women, on bicycles, tricycles, tandems and handcycles, are held on public and private roads, over various distances, depending on athlete classification. All Road race courses are completely closed to non-race traffic. Races have a bunched start and the first athlete to complete the course distance is declared the winner. All races begin with a neutralized rolling start of at least 200m to enable all the athletes to be safely and fairly underway. Circuits are usually 7 to 10km per lap and often quite tough with climbs and descents. Tricycles and handcycles often use a shorter and less technically difficult circuit.
Individual Time Trial: Time trial courses often use the same circuits as those used for Road races in the same programme. The Time trial is a race against the clock for bicycles, tricycles, tandems and handcycles, both men and women. Competitors start at 60-second intervals and the rider who records the fastest time for the distance is declared the winner. Race distances vary according to athlete classification and riders are seeded, so that the fastest riders start last.
(Credit: IPC. Click here for further information.)