Cycling at the Tokyo Games will comprise 22 medal events contested across four distinct disciplines: Road (4), Track (12), BMX (4) and Mountain Bike (2).

The events are as follows:

  • Road: Men’s Road Race
  • Road: Women’s Road Race
  • Road: Men’s Time Trial
  • Road: Women’s Time Trial
  • Track: Men’s Sprint
  • Track: Men’s Team Sprint
  • Track: Men’s Team Pursuit
  • Track: Men’s Keirin
  • Track: Men’s Omnium
  • Track: Men’s Madison
  • Track: Women’s Sprint
  • Track: Women’s Team Sprint
  • Track: Women’s Team Pursuit
  • Track: Women’s Keirin
  • Track: Women’s Omnium
  • Track: Women’s Madison
  • Mountain Bike: Men’s Cross-Country
  • Mountain Bike: Women’s Cross-Country
  • BMX: Men’s Freestyle
  • BMX: Men’s Racing
  • BMX: Women’s Freestyle
  • BMX: Women’s Racing

The BMX freestyle event, new for Tokyo, involves riders performing tricks and jumps while navigating a course full of various ramps and obstacles.

BMX

Freestyle

Overview: Nine men and nine women are expected to compete in Tokyo, where BMX freestyle will make its Olympic debut. Athletes execute tricks and jumps on and around a series of ramps, embankments, walls and other obstacles that are set up in a park course.

Seeding Phase: All riders complete two 1-minute runs in reverse order of their individual world rankings (the highest ranked rider goes last). Each rider’s total score is calculated as the average score from both runs, as determined by five judges scoring from 0.00 to 99.99, based on the difficulty and execution of tricks, jumps and all components of the run.

Final Phase: The final phase takes place the day after the seeding phase. Each rider makes two 1-minute runs in reverse order of his or her score in the seeding phase (the best rider goes last). Only the best of the two scores counts as the final score, and the rider with the best single score wins the gold medal. Scores are judged in the same manner as for the seeding phase.

Racing

Overview: Twenty-four men and 24 women compete. Cyclists race to the finish line on an off-road course with jumps, hills and turns. Each run takes less than a minute. Competition takes place over two days: the quarterfinals take place on the first day and the rest of the competition takes place on the second day.

Quarterfinals: The quarterfinals are seeded based on individual world rankings, evenly distributing the highest-ranked riders across the heats (this is a change from Rio, where a seeding round determined seeding). The quarterfinals feature four heats of six riders each. Each athlete takes three runs against the same five other riders in their heat. Each rider’s ranks in the three heats are summed together; the four riders in each heat with the lowest combined score advance to the semifinals. In case of a DNF, a rider receives a score equal to the number of riders who started the run.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Best rank in run 3
  2. Best rank in run 2
  3. Best rank in run 1
  4. Gate selection (seeding) order of run 1

Semifinals: Two heats of eight riders each. Each athlete takes three runs against the same seven other riders in their heat. Riders are evenly distributed into the two heats based on their results in the quarterfinals (best and fourth-best in one heat, second and third-best in the other heat, etc.). Each rider’s ranks in the three heats are summed together; the four riders in each heat with the lowest combined score advance to the final. In the case of a DNF, a rider receives a score equal to the number of riders who started the run. Tiebreakers are the same as for the quarterfinals.

Final: Single run with the final eight riders competing for medals.

Mountain Biking

Single phase. Mass start with all riders (expected to be 37 of each gender). Athletes are seeded into a starting grid based on UCI individual world rankings. The first rider to cross the finish line wins. The top men are expected to complete the off-road course in about 1 hour, 20 minutes, while the top women are expected to finish in about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Road Cycling

Road Race

Men’s: Single phase. Mass start with a maximum of 128 riders. The first rider to cross the finish line wins. The top men are expected to complete the 145.4-mile course in about 6 and a half hours.

Women’s: Single phase. Mass start with a maximum of 65 riders. The first rider to cross the finish line wins. The top women are expected to complete the 85.1-mile course in about 4 hours.

Time Trial

Men’s: Individual (staggered) start at 90-second intervals with a maximum of 40 riders. The fastest time to complete the course wins. The top men are expected to complete the 27.5-mile course in about an hour each.

Women’s: Individual (staggered) start at 90-second intervals with a maximum of 25 riders. The fastest time to complete the course wins. The top women are expected to complete the 13.7-mile course in about 30 minutes each.

Track Cycling

Keirin

Overview: An individual event, the keirin is a six-lap, 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile) race in which a group of no more than 30 riders competes in a mass-start sprint drafting behind a motorcycle. The motorcycle slowly accelerates from 30 to 50 km/h (18.6 to 31.1 mph) until there are three laps remaining. At that time, the motorcycle pulls off the track, leaving the riders to sprint for the finish. The winner is the rider who crosses the line first. Each run takes about 2 minutes.

First round: A maximum of 30 riders compete, split into five heats of six. Riders are distributed based on UCI individual world rankings, while also ensuring that riders from the same country are placed into different heats. The top two riders in each heat advance to the second round. The rest proceed to the repechage (or “second chance”) bracket, split into four heats of five riders, with the top two in each heat advancing to the second round.

Second round: Three heats of six riders each. The top four in each heat advance to the semifinals.

Semifinals: Two heats of six riders each. The top three in each heat advance to the final.

Final: The top six riders compete in a single run to determine the medal winners.

Changes since Rio: Number of laps down from eight to six, with the motorcycle pulling off with three laps to go rather than two and a half. Maximum of 30 riders rather than 27. Addition of semifinal stage, with altered progression between the stages.

Madison

Overview: The madison is a team event. Teammates relay one another at will by a touch of the hand or the shorts. The team with the most cumulative points wins the gold medal.

  • Men’s Event: Men’s madison returns as an Olympic event for the first time since 2008. A maximum of 16 teams of two compete in a 50-kilometer (31.1-mile) relay race over 200 laps. The race takes slightly less than an hour.
  • Women’s Event: Women’s madison makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. A maximum of 16 teams of two compete in a 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) relay race over 120 laps. The race takes slightly over a half-hour.

Sprints: Every 10 laps, points are awarded – five points for first place, three points for second, two points for third and one point for fourth. Points awarded in the last sprint at the end of the full distance are doubled. Any team that gains a lap on the main field is awarded 20 points, and a team losing a lap is deducted 20 points.

Tiebreaker: If tied on points, the team finishing the final sprint first wins.

Omnium

Overview: The omnium is an individual event that consists of four races. A maximum of 21 women and 20 men compete in the four races in the following order:

  1. Scratch race
  2. Tempo race
  3. Elimination race
  4. Points race

For the first three races, riders earn 40 points for a win, 38 points for second place, 36 for third, etc. (See below for scoring of the points race.) The rider with the most cumulative points wins the gold medal.

Scratch race: Mass start. First to cross the finish line wins. Ten kilometers (6.2 miles) for men, 7.5 km (4.7 miles) for women. The race takes about 10 minutes for men and about 9 minutes for women.

Tempo race: Mass start. Ten kilometers (6.2 miles) for men, 7.5 km (4.7 miles) for women. Starting at the end of the fifth lap, one point is awarded to the rider in first place at the end of each lap. A rider gaining a lap on the field scores 20 points, while a rider losing a lap loses 20 points. The race takes about 10 minutes for men and about 9 minutes for women.

Elimination race: Mass start. Every two laps (every 500 meters), the last rider crossing the line is eliminated from this race until one rider remains. The race takes about 11 minutes for both men and women.

Points race: Twenty-five kilometers (15.5 miles, or 100 laps) for men, 20 km (12.4 miles, or 80 laps) for women. Every 10 laps, a sprint occurs: five points are awarded to the rider in first place, three points for second, two points for third and one point for fourth at each 10-lap increment. Points awarded in the last sprint after the full distance are doubled. A rider gaining a lap on the field scores 20 points, while a rider losing a lap loses 20 points. The race takes about 30 minutes for men and about 25 minutes for women.

Major changes since Rio: Number of events changed from six to four. Tempo race has been added, while individual pursuit, time trial, and flying lap have been removed. Maximum number of riders increased from 18 to 21 women and from 18 to 20 men.

Sprint

Overview: The sprint is an individual event. Riders usually strategically pedal far below full speed in the beginning and do not sprint until the second half of the run. Each race takes about 2 minutes.

Qualifying: A maximum of 30 men and 30 women compete. Each rider completes three laps (750 meters), with only the final 200 meters being timed. The 24 fastest riders are seeded based on their times, and the rest are eliminated.

1/32 finals: The remaining 24 proceed to the 1/32 finals, which feature one-on-one matchups: No. 1 vs. No. 24, No. 2 vs. No. 23, etc. The first rider to cross the finish line after three laps wins. The 12 winners proceed to the 1/16 finals, while the losers proceed to the 1/32 final repechage (or “second chance”) bracket. The repechage includes four heats of three riders each, with the winner of each heat advancing.

1/16 finals: Sixteen riders compete in one-on-one races. The eight winners advance to the 1/8 finals, while the losers proceed to the 1/16 final repechage. The repechage includes four heats of two riders each, with the winner of each heat advancing to the 1/8 finals.

1/8 finals: Twelve riders compete in one-on-one races. The six winners advance to the quarterfinals, while the other six riders proceed to the 1/8 repechage, which is contested as two heats of three riders each, with the two winners advancing to the quarterfinals.

Quarterfinals, semifinals, and medal matches: No further repechages; each match is best of three races. The semifinal losers compete against each other for the bronze medal, and the semifinal winners compete against each other for the gold medal.

Major changes since Rio: Addition of 1/32 finals and 1/32 final repechage. Maximum number of riders increased from 27 to 30; number of riders in 1/16 finals decreased from 18 to 16.

Team Pursuit

Overview: This is a team event. Eight teams of four riders race over a distance of 4,000 meters (2.5 miles, or 16 laps). Each team’s four riders race simultaneously, and the team’s time is counted when the third rider’s front wheel crosses the finish line. Men’s races take about 4 minutes while women’s races take about 4 and a half minutes.

Competition unfolds over three rounds, starting with the qualifying round and ending with the medal races. In each round, two teams race simultaneously, starting at opposite ends of the track. Every team completes a single run each round.

Qualifying round: Each of the eight teams completes one run. In order to compete for gold, teams need to finish in the top four.

First round: The teams are matched up according to their times in the qualifying round:

  • No. 6 vs. No. 7
  • No. 5 vs. No. 8
  • No. 2 vs. No. 3
  • No 1 vs. No. 4

The winners of the final two heats race each other for the gold medal. The other six teams are ranked on time, with the two fastest racing for bronze, the next two fastest racing for fifth place, and the remaining two racing for seventh place.

Men’s Team Sprint

Eight teams of three. Each race consists of three laps (750 meters) and each rider must lead for one lap. Each run takes slightly more than 40 seconds.

Qualifying round: Each team completes a timed run, which determines matchups in the first round.

First round: The teams are matched up according to their times in the qualifying round. In order to have a chance to win gold, a team not only has to win its race, but clock a time faster than two of the other winning teams.

  • No. 1 vs No. 8
  • No. 2 vs No. 7
  • No. 3 vs No. 6
  • No. 4 vs No. 5

The four winning teams advance, with the two teams that had the fastest times in the first round competing in a single run for gold and the other two teams competing in a single run for bronze.

Women’s Team Sprint

Eight teams of two. Each race consists of two laps (500 meters) – each rider must lead for one lap.

Qualifying round: Each team completes a timed run, which determines matchups in the first round.

First round: The teams are matched up according to their times in the qualifying round. In order to have a chance to win gold, a team not only has to win its race, but clock a time faster than two of the other winning teams.

  • No. 1 vs No. 8
  • No. 2 vs No. 7
  • No. 3 vs No. 6
  • No. 4 vs No. 5

The four winning teams advance, with the two teams that had the fastest times in the first round competing in a single run for gold and the other two teams competing in a single run for bronze.

More information:

Official Tokyo site – Cycling

USA Cycling

International Cycling Federation