Sports week: 10 things to know about para-cycling

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A number of road and track cycling events are held at the Paralympic Games. While the former take place on paved roads, the latter take place in a velodrome with a raised oval track 250 m long.

1. Para-cycling has been part of the Paralympic program for 37 years. While on-road para-cycling made its debut in New York / Stoke Mandeville 1984, track para-cycling made its debut in Atlanta 1996.

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2. At Tokyo 2020, a total of 34 gold medals will be up for grabs in road cycling, including the road race, time trial and team relay.

In the road race, all cyclists start at the same time and they have to complete a fixed number of laps in a circuit of 7 km to 10 km. In time trial events, para-athletes start individually in 60-second intervals, with whoever completes the course in the shortest time wins.

All events will take place at Fuji International Speedway.

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3. The Paralympic Games track program includes 17 events, including time trials, individual pursuit and team sprint.

In against the watch, the riders sprint to the finish as fast as they can and are ranked according to their finish times.

In individual pursuit, cyclists start on opposite sides of the track and race to overtake or cross the finish line first.

In the team sprint, mixed teams of three runners run three laps, and after each lap the lead runner moves away to allow the rest of the team to sprint to the finish line.

They will be contested at the Izu Velodrome.

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4. Athletes with a physical disability compete either on handbikes, tricycles, bicycles or tandems.

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5. There are different sport classes for hand cycling, H1-5, where the lower numbers indicate restrictions in the upper and lower limbs, and the upper numbers indicate restrictions in the lower limbs only.

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6. Tricycle athletes are divided into two classes, T1 and T2, the first of which is assigned to athletes with more severe coordination disorders.

Ⓒ Canadian Paralympic Committee

7. Athletes able to use a standard bicycle compete in all five C1-5 sport classes, with lower numbers indicating more severe lower and / or upper limb limitation.

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8. Visually impaired cyclists run in tandem with a sighted cyclist in front.

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9. While the sighted rider in tandem events is called a “pilot”, the athlete seated behind is called a “driver”.

A driver is a person who throws firewood or charcoal on a fire, like in a locomotive. The name is given because this athlete focuses on pedaling and provides most of the propulsive force.

Ⓒ New Zealand Paralympics

ten. Cyclists participating in sprint events can exceed 60 km / h.

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