How to watch the Rio 2016 Paralympic Cycling

It’s Paralympics time!  And we can watch and follow a lot of it!  I’ll tell you how, with a bit of information about Para-cycling, if you’re new to the sport.

The Rio 2016 Track Para-Cycling runs from 8-11th September 2016, and we should be able to watch all of it live.   The schedule and information is all on this Rio 2016 page, and startlists will turn up around 24 hours before each event when you click the “event” tab above the schedule, which will also have the results – and when there’s a “running” icon next to each race, click through it for the live-timing.  Or you can find it all on this Paralympic Games page.

Rio is in the BRST timezone, 4 hours behind UK BST, 5 hours behind Euro CEST, 13 hours behind Aussie AEST (ouch) and 1 hour ahead of North American EDT, and all morning sessions start at 10am BRST (2pm UK BST, 15:00 Euro CEST, 11pm AEST and 9am EDT), and the evening sessions (with most of the medals) at 16:30 BRST (8:30pm UK BST; 21:30 CEST; 3:30pm EDT; 5:30am AEST).  Livestreams are the internationl feeds – if they’re not available in your country, scroll down for how to watch

There’s a little guide to the main riders to watch on the UCI website.

You’ll notice that this doesn’t include the Tandem Sprinting or C1-5 Points races, and that’s very sad, as they’re such wonderful races to watch.  I don’t know why the UCI agreed this programme, but I hope they change this for the future.


The Road Racing is from 14-17th September, and the 9:30am BRST session = 1:30pm BST; 14:30 CEST; 10:30pm AEST; 8:30am EDT.  Hit schedule on this page to get the timetables, and “event” above each page for the startlists and results – hopefully that results tab will also include live timing.  Or you can find information on this Paralympic Games page.

  • Wednesday 14th Sept – starts 8am BRST: Men’s C1-5, H2-5,T1-2, and Tandem Time Trials; Women’s C1-5, H1-5, T1-2 and Tandem Time Trials
  • Thursday 15th Sept: Handcycling Road Races – women’s H1-4 and H5 livetiming
  • Friday 16th Sept: Women’s & Men’s C1-3 and T1-2 Road Races; Mixed Handcycle Relay – livetiming for the women’s C1-3 and Trikes
  • Saturday 17th Sept: Women’s & Men’s C4-5 and Tandem Road Races – livetiming for the women’s C4-5 and the Tandems

The road races are based in Pontal, on the same roads the Rio 2016 Able Bodied Road Race and ITTs took place on – including the Tandem and C4-5 rides taking on the Grumari Circuit – that first set of climbs and descents in the Able-Bodied Road Race, and was the lap for the ITT.  Details of the courses, and what each category of riders will race, in the Spectator guide.


Depressingly it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to watch the Road Races live, and I think this is connected to the massive budget issues, but there is live-timing.

I’ve collected some information about some of the Road Riders:




So how do we watch and follow the racing?

First, some countries have great coverage, and you can see if that includes your country, and links to their livestreams, on this page on the Paralympic Games website coverage guide.    If you don’t have coverage, you can watch the livestreams on the Paralympics YouTubeParalympic Games website, the Olympics Channel, and maybe see highlights on the Paralympics Dailymotion.

Highlights of races that aren’t shown live (like the Road Races, for example) should be on all those places, and maybe on the Paralympic Games YouTube as well – and as always, I’ll pull together a collection of highlights here, after the Games.

In the UK, where I live, for example, the Games are shown on Channel 4, and you can find tons of information and 2012 highlights on the Channel 4 Paralympic portal, which is where they’ll show it – scroll down here for all their livestreams.   They’ll also be showing a lot on the Channel 4 TV, and their TV schedule is here, and links to livestreams for channels here.  Races that aren’t live should have highlights on those sites too, and they have great stuff on their YouTube too.  I love the Channel 4 coverage – it’s passionate, and witty, and clever, and I recommend The Last Leg daily magazine programmes, at 8pm UK BST (21:00 CEST, 4pm BRST, 3pm EDT, 5am AEST)

If you’re in the UK, BBC Radio 5 live will also have tons of live coverage of the Paralympics, and you can find it on their website, and there’s already a huge amount of great information on the BBC Disability Sports portal, including their guide to what you can follow with them, and how.

If want to watch coverage from another country, for example, if you’re on holiday, or something like that, INRNG explains about VPNs here, or you can look up the channel you’re after on (just pop the channel name into the search box), or you can google for channel streams, and look on the stream sites like this and this (cross fingers, no guarantees).


Following live on twitter

I’m super-sad that we won’t see the road races live, but hopefully we’ll be able to follow on twitter.  There’s the general twitter accounts:  the official Paralympics, and various Paralympics accounts, and the #Paralympics and #Rio2016 hashtags.

I haven’t seen the specific Paracyling hashtag yet, but am using #CyclingTrack, #CyclingRoad, and I’m hoping the UCI Para-cycling twitter will be updating.  I’ll edit in more information as I see it.

If you want to follow specific countries, teams to watch on twitter include Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, USA Paracycling twitter.

I’ve put all those accounts, along with every rider I can find competing in Rio, into this twitter list, and some journalists and media, so we can follow riders’ adventures and achievements.


More about Para-cycling

Here’s the Paralympic Games introduction to Para-cycling, and there’s more on the UCI Para-Cycling portal.  I really like the British Cycling guides to each of the events, too, and there’s a British-focused introduction from the BBC.

Country-specific Para-cycling information on various National Federations’ Paracycling portals, including Cycling Australia and their YouTube and their facebook, the Dutch Federation, Cycling Ireland, Italian Federation, Cycling Canada, Netherlands para-cycling portal, USA Cycling  and USA Paralympics news pageBritish Cycling’s news pages and videos on the YouTube (if you want more British news, keep an eye on the BBC Disability Sport pages too) and Paralympics New Zealand’s facebook, and the German team facebook.  If I’ve missed anything from your country, let me know, and I’ll edit things in.


If you’re wondering about the Classification categories, they’re pretty simple to understand – there’s a run-though from BBC Radio 5Live here, which may be geo-restricted to the UK, that goes through all the basics, but simply, the lower the classification number, the higher the severity of the impairment.

So a C1 rider’s disability would affect her cycling more than a C5 rider’s disability does, for example – and each category has riders with different conditions in it, so you may see a rider with a missing limb racing a rider with all her limbs, but a different kind of disability, which means she can’t pedal as hard.

Cycling-specific classifications:

H1-5 – Athletes with impairments affecting their legs, and sometimes trunks and arms, who use a handbike and pedal with their hands.

T1-2 – Athletes who have an impaired sense of balance and use a tricycle.

C1-5 – Athletes with a physical impairment who are able to use a bicycle.

TB – Visually impaired athletes who compete on tandems with a sighted ‘pilot’.

There’s more about the classifications here.


How to watch more Para-Cycling

There aren’t many chances to watch Para-cycling, sadly, but you can watch some highlights of races on the UCI YouTube, with some in this playlist, and find race reports and articles about riders on their Para-Cycling portal.  I’ve got some collections of media from Para-cycling: 2015 Para-cycling Road World Cup #5, Pietermaritzberg, in here; 2016 Para-cycling Track World Championships


I’ll be talking Paracycling throughout the Games on my twitter – and I’ll be editing more into this as I see it.   I’m not an expert, by any means, but please do ask me any questions on twitter, or in the comments, and I’ll see if I can reply, or crowd-source answers.

I’m funded to do this kind of thing by my wonderful Patreon supporters, who generously pay me from £/€/$ 2/month to support my women’s cycling work.  You can find out more about that over here.


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