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Cycling at the Tokyo Olympics: What to Know for 2021


Cycling at the Tokyo Olympics: What to Know for 2021 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington. The Tokyo Olympics arrived earlier this morning, with athletes gathering worldwide to participate in the Opening Ceremony’s Parade of Nations.

Cycling will once again be featured in Tokyo as a staple in the Olympics for years. From trekking through the mountains to zipping around wooden tracks to taking it to the skate park, cyclists in all forms will be ready to compete for a gold medal. Here’s everything you need to know about cycling for the Tokyo Olympics:

What are the types of cycling?

Five types of cycling will be played at the Olympics: road cycling, track cycling, BMX racing, BMX freestyle, and mountain biking. Road and track cycling has been a part of the Summer Olympics for almost every Olympics since the Games began in 1896. Mountain biking has been included in the Games since 1996. BMX became an Olympic event in 2008, with BMX freestyle set to premiere at this year’s Olympics.

What is BMX freestyle?

Most cycling is simple — you race and try to beat those running with you or get the best time at the time trials. But BMX freestyle is entirely different. It’s all about entertainment when it comes to this sport.


Competitors have 60 seconds to execute tricks through a course with numerous obstacles, such as rails, walls, and box jumps. These tricks are done mostly while flying up in the air. Their antics and skills are judged based on the degree of difficulty, creativity, originality, height, and execution.

Which country is the best at cycling?

When it comes to cycling in general, European countries tend to find themselves on the podium most often. For the men, France has the most total medals in Olympic history for cycling, with 73 total. Behind France, Great Britain has the second-highest medal count, with 69 capacity for men’s cycling. It has the most silver (23) and is tied for the most bronze medals (22) in Olympic men’s cycling history.

Italy is tied with France for the most gold medals with 30 and has the third-highest medal totaling 53. For women, the Netherlands has the most gold medals with nine and is tied with the United States for the most total awards in Olympic history with 17. The U.S. has four gold but has the most silver with eight. Great Britain has the third-most medals with 16 and has the second-highest gold medals with eight.

When will the Olympics cycling competitions take place?

For road cycling, the men’s road race starts Friday, July 23, while the women’s road race will be Sunday, July 25. The men’s and women’s road race time trials will be on July 28. Men’s mountain biking will take place on July 26, and women’s on July 27. BMX racing will compete on July 29 and 30, while BMX freestyle will run on July 31 and Aug. 1. Track cycling will go from Aug. 2 to Aug. 8.

Where will the Olympics cycling competitions take place?

Mountain biking will compete on the Izu MTB Course, a 4,100m-long outdoor, off-road course in Izu City. BMX freestyle and racing will be at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, a newly constructed system in the Ariake district of Tokyo. Road cycling will be at the Fuji International Speedway, a historic raceway located in Oyama that has held multiple national and international races. Track cycling will occur in the Izu Velodrome, a 250m wooden track in Izu City.

Who are the favorites in Olympic cycling?

British cyclists — led by Laura Kenny for the women and her husband, Jason Kenny, for the men — will look to continue their dominance in track cycling. Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium looks to repeat in road cycling after winning gold in 2016, as does Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands, who will retire after this season. Swiss rider Nino Schurter goes for his second straight gold and fifth medal overall in men’s mountain biking, while Loana Lecomte is favored on the women’s side.

Connor Fields and Alise Willoughby of the U.S. return after medaling in BMX racing in Rio. In freestyle, BMX, Americans Nick Bruce, Justin Dowell, Perris Benegas, and Hannah Roberts will contend for medals. For a list of all the U.S. cycling Olympians, click here.


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