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.

Road Events
Para cycling road events are held for men and women and for all functional classes:

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

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:

  • 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)

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.

New Zealand has had an extremely strong representation of Para cyclists on the world stage, including the multiple world champion visually impaired Para cyclist Emma Foy. Along with her sighted pilot Hannah van Kampen, they are the current world title holders in the individual pursuit and road race. Emma has also won multiple medals at other World Championship and World Cup events in both road and track events.

A team of 7 New Zealand Para cyclists competed at the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships (Emmen, Netherlands). Read this article to know more about the New Zealand Para Cycling Team and the detailed schedule of the event. It’s New Zealand’s best ever performance at a World Championships finishing with three world titles, 7th on the Gold Medal table, 8th overall on the medal table.

1984Para 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.
1996Track cycling added to the Paralympic programme at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics.
2004First UCI World Para cycling Championship took place on the track. The road version was born two years later.
2007 Handcycling introduced on to the schedule at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
2012At 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.
2016Seven Para athletes have represented New Zealand at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, winning 2 medals.

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

KEY DOCUMENTS