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Description of Paracycling Events in Rio

Description of Paracycling Events in Rio
New to Paracycling, and wondering what the difference is between a C2 and a H3? It can be a bit tricky to get your head around at first, but it's actually pretty straightforward. 

In Rio Ireland will have riders competing across handcycling, tandems and solo bikes - we have explained the different terms below: 

Classification in Paracycling


These categories denote athletes who cannot ride a bicycle due to balance issues and compete on a tricycle. Ireland doesn’t have anyone competing in Rio in these events.


These categories denote cyclists who have lost a limb or lost significant use of a limb. They can compete with prosthetic limbs. C1 is the most severe disability and C5 least severe. Colin Lynch is C2 and Eoghan Clifford is C3

B Tandem

This denotes athletes with a visual impairment, riding in a tandem pair. The stoker is on the bike with a visual impairment, and a sighted pilot is on the front. A former pro cyclist cannot have competed in a UCI tour event for 24 months in order to be a pilot. We have a female tandem and two male tandems in Rio.


These categories denote athletes who are wheelchair users who use a handbike. Athletes with least function are in the H1 category, and most able in the H5 category. In H1-4 the handcyclists compete in a lying position and H5 compete in a kneeling position. Ciara Staunton is H2 and Declan Slevin H3.

Events Explanation

While there are events for paracyclists on the track and on the road in the Paralympic Games, the trikes and handcyclists compete on the road only.


Individual Pursuit (Track)

This is a 3km/4km TT against the clock. The fastest two qualifiers compete for gold and the third and fourth fastest qualifiers compete for bronze later in the same day. The Men’s Tandems will compete over 4km and the rest of the Irish will compete over 3km.

Kilo (Track)

This is a 1km race against the clock where the winner is the fastest time. In the C1-3 events the final result is calculated after the finish time is recorded and calculated based on the disability category in which the athlete competes.

Time Trial (Road)

This is a race on the road against the clock. Riders start at one minute intervals, the fastest rider is the winner, even in mixed classes. The handcycles and Colin Lynch will compete over 20km. Eoghan Clifford and all the tandems will compete over a 30km course.

Road Race (Road)

This is a mass start race over a greater distance where tactics can come into play. Regardless of whether or not there are mixed classes in each event the winner will be the first person over the line. Ciara Staunton will compete over 45km against all female handcyclists from H2, H3 and H4 classes, Declan Slevin will compete over 60km against H3 handcyclists, Eoghan Clifford and Colin Lynch compete in the same 71.1km race against C1-3 cyclists, the female tandem compete over 90km and the male tandems compete over 120km.

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