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The rules of paralympic cycling are established by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), and depend on the category in which the athlete will compete;

To make these Paralympic cycling rules easier to understand, we have created a practical guide, separating the rules into groups, which include subjects such as:

  • classification of athletes;
  • types of equipment allowed;
  • types of evidence;
  • penalties.

Do you like it? Then read on and get your questions answered about the rules of Paralympic cycling;

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Paralympic cycling rules: complete guide

Knowing the rules of paralympic cycling will ensure that you, whether as a competitor or spectator, will have a much more complete experience when taking part in or watching the races.

After all, they are essential for a fair and fierce competition between competitors, and are essential for the thrill of sport to make our hearts beat faster. So let’s get to it!

Classification of athletes

The first of the Paralympic cycling rules relates to the classification of athletes based on the type and severity of their disabilities, with the aim of ensuring fair and balanced competitions.

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The classes include categories such as C1-C5 (conventional bikes), T1-T2 (tricycles), H1-H5 (handbikes) and B (tandem).

H1 to H5 (Handbike)

This category classifies athletes who push the bike with their arms;

The classes vary, with H1 to H4 cyclists lying on the bike seat, while those in the H5 class compete on their knees, also using the strength of their torso to move.

T1 and T2 (Tricycle)

Here are cyclists with cerebral palsy whose disabilities prevent them from riding a conventional bicycle, so they compete on tricycles;

Athletes in the T1 class have a higher degree of difficulty than those in T2.

C1 to C5

This category includes athletes who compete on conventional and adapted bicycles. They are usually athletes with physical disabilities or amputees;

Within this class, the lower the number (C1 being the lowest), the greater the athlete’s degree of movement restriction.


Intended exclusively for  visually impaired cyclists. The bikes are two-seaters, where the rider in front (pilot) can see normally and guides the rider behind.

Based on this classification, athletes are allocated to different types of paralympic cycling, following their own specific rules.


All equipment must be approved by the UCI and suitable for the athletes’ needs.

Modifications to the equipment are permitted, as long as they are within the rules of cycling and follow the specifications for each group of athletes, as presented above.

  • Conventional adapted bikes: equipment used by athletes with milder disabilities.Among the permitted adaptations are seat and positioning adjustments,control adaptations of brake and gears to facilitate use by athletes with mobility limitations, the addition ofpedals and supports and more..
  • Handbikes: bicycles “pedaled” with the hands, used by athletes with leg disabilities such as paraplegia and tetraplegia;
  • Tricycles: this type of bike has one wheel at the front and two at the back and is ideal for athletes with cerebral palsy, as it gives them more balance.
  • Tandem: model used by visually impaired athletes, always with a rider in front.

Rules for each type of test 

Among the rules of paralympic cycling is that the races are held on UCI-approved tracks or on roads closed to traffic.

The distances and formats of the races vary according to the category and the specific competition.

In the Paralympics there are three types of track cycling events:

  • time trial: speed races, in a velodrome with a 250m track. Athletes must run distances of 500m or 1km. The athlete who completes the distance in the shortest time wins.
  • individual pursuit: these are duels in which two athletes compete against each other over distances of 3km to 4km. Whoever catches up with their opponent in the shortest time wins the competition;
  • Tandem or team sprint: the competitors must do three laps of the track, and whoever does it fastest wins the race.
  • Road cycling takes place outside the velodrome, usually on closed roads and itinerant circuits. Competitors start and have to cover the distance described in the race. The winner is whoever crosses the finish line first.
  • Team relay of three athletes. During the course, the athletes take turns to complete a route. 

It’s also worth pointing out that cycling is part of the paralympic triathlon. In this case, it has its own classifications and disciplines;


Time penalties are applied to infractions that directly affect the progress of the competition, such as:

  • False Start: starting before the start signal.
  • Path cutting: deviating from the designated path to gain an advantage.
  • External Assistance: receiving external help not allowed during the race.

Disqualification, on the other hand, is a severe penalty for serious infractions, such as:

  • Doping: use of prohibited substances.
  • Serious unsportsmanlike conduct: behavior such as physical or verbal aggression towards other competitors, officials or spectators.
  • Illegal equipment: use of bicycles or equipment that does not comply with the established rules.

Now you have a complete overview of the rules of Paralympic cycling and will have a more complete experience, whether as an athlete or spectator;

Without a doubt, we’re talking about one of the most exciting disciplines at the Paralympics, and the rules guarantee fairness and competitiveness in the competitions;

The result is more excitement and adrenaline! We wish you a good race!

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