How to qualify for road cycling at Paris 2024. The Olympics qualification system explained

A total of 180 cyclists will take part in the Olympic competitions for road cycling - a sport that is deeply connected to host nation France and Olympic history. Find out everything you need to know about the number of athletes, stars to watch and pathway to qualification below.

By Marta Martín | Created on Sept. 2022
Picture by Getty Images

Cycling has been part of the Olympic programme since the first modern Games that took place in Athens in 1896, and is a sport that has a strong history in the host country France.

Although the Tour de France may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cycling, the Olympic Olympic Games Paris 2024 will offer four road cycling events - women's and men's time trials and women's and men's road races.

Discover everything you need to know about the road cycling qualification system for the next Olympic Games.

READ MORE: Paris 2024: The quest for Olympic qualification begins

How many road cyclists will compete at Paris 2024?

A total of 180 cyclists (90 per gender) will race through the plains and climbs of the Paris 2024 road cycling course, with four of them racing on home soil: as host nation, France have been allocated two quota places per gender.

Each NOC can qualify a maximum of eight athletes (four per gender) but there are specific limitations for each event:

  • 4 cyclists per gender per NOC - maximum for the road race

  • 2 cyclists per gender per NOC - maximum for the individual time trial

And as is the case with other cycling disciplines, any athlete who is entered in another cycling discipline has the right to be entered in road cycling providing the NOC has obtained a quota place in the said event, that the limits of participation per NOC and per event are not exceeded, and that the athlete eligibility requirements are met.

Get to know the eligibility requirements here.

All quota places are allocated to the NOCs, rather than to individual athletes.

READ MORE: Track cycling qualification system explained

What is the road cycling qualification pathway to Paris 2024?

Qualification processes for road races and time trials differ significantly. Keep reading to learn about both:

Men's and women's road races - maximum 88 quotas per gender

The 89th and 90th spots are allocated to the host nation. If the host nation has already qualified one or two quota places through any of the events below, the corresponding unused guaranteed host country place(s) is/are allocated via the final allocation of quota places.

There are three ways to qualify for the road races: UCI Road World Ranking by Nations, 2023 UCI Road World Championships Elite Road Race and 2023 Continental Championships (except for Europe and Oceania).

UCI Road World Ranking by Nations (80 athletes per gender)

The UCI Road World Ranking by Nations on October 2023 (the exact date needs to be defined) is based on the results from Elite and Under 23 events on the UCI international road calendar over the preceding 52 weeks.

This is the allocation per gender:

  • NOCs ranked 1 to 5: maximum athletes per NOC: 4 / Total number of athletes: 20

  • NOCs ranked 6 to 10: max. athletes per NOC: 3 / Total number of athletes: 15

  • NOCs ranked 11 to 20: max. athletes per NOC: 2 / Total number of athletes: 20

  • NOCs ranked 21 to 45: max. athletes per NOC: 1 / Total number of athletes: 25

There is another factor to take into account for Europe and Oceania: the minimum allocation per continent. In the case that any of these continents do not have at least one NOC represented, the last available quota place(s) through the UCI Road World Ranking by Nations as of October 2023 will be allocated to the highest-ranked NOC of that continent. Any such allocation will result in a corresponding reduction (max. one per NOC) of places in the reverse order of the UCI Road World Ranking by Nations - always providing that such a reduction would not result in the continent of the NOC concerned losing its only quota.

Find here the updated UCI Road World Ranking by Nations.

2023 UCI Road World Championships Elite Road Race (two athletes per gender)

The two best ranked NOCs which do not qualify any quota places through the UCI Road World Ranking by Nations can qualify maximum one quota place per gender through the road race from the 2023 UCI Road World Championships.

2023 Continental Championships - other than Europe and Oceania (six athletes per gender)

NOCs which do not qualify any quota places through the UCI Road World Ranking by Nations or the results of the 2023 UCI Road World Championships can qualify maximum one quota place per gender through the Elite Road Race from the respective 2023 Continental Championships as follows:

  • Africa: 2 highest ranked NOCs, 1 rider qualified per NOC

  • America: 2 highest ranked NOCs, 1 rider qualified per NOC

  • Asia: 2 highest ranked NOCs, 1 rider qualified per NOC

Men's and women's individual time trials - 35 quotas per gender max.

In the case of the Olympic individual time trials, there is no specific allocation of quota places for the host nation. For each gender, only NOCs which have received quota places in the road race event can be allocated quotas for the individual time trial. That means that the host nation may only qualify quota places for the individual time trial through the qualification events below.

The maximum quota places per NOC in the individual time trial is two per gender.

There are two ways to qualify for the Paris individual time trial: UCI Road World Ranking by Nations and 2023 UCI Road World Championships Elite Individual Time Trial.

UCI Road World Ranking by Nations (25 athletes per gender)

NOCs ranked 1 to 25 in the UCI Road World Ranking by Nations on October 2023 (the exact date needs to be defined) will receive a maximum of one quota place, respecting the minimum allocation per continent (see below).

2023 UCI Road World Championships Elite Individual Time Trial (10 athletes per gender)

The 10 highest ranked NOCs in the Elite Individual Time Trial event on the 2023 UCI Road World Championships will receive a maximum of one quota place.

There is another factor to take into account: the minimum allocation per continent. In the case that a continent does not have at least two NOCs qualified through the World Ranking by Nations or the World Championships Elite Individual Time Trial, a maximum of one place per NOC will be allocated to the highest ranked NOC of that continent on the World Ranking by Nations and not yet qualified, among those having qualified a quota place for the road race event of the concerned gender. Any such allocations will result in a corresponding reduction (max. one per NOC) of places allocated to NOCs through the Ranking by Nations, in the reverse order of the latter and provided that such reduction would not result in the continent of the NOC concerned losing its only quota.

Note on confirmation process

After the qualifying process, there is a process of confirmation of quota places and reallocation of unused quota places, which follow specific criteria that you can find here [paragraphs E and F].

What is the Paris 2024 road cycling competition format and schedule?

The formats of both the time trial and the road races are the same as they were at Tokyo 2020.

In the road races, cyclists begin the race at the same time with the first rider across the finish line declared Olympic champion. The time trials sees cyclists begin with a staggered start, with the fastest rider after all other riders have finished declared champion.

The first medal competitions will take place on 27 July 2024 with both the women’s and men’s individual time trials.

The road races will take place across an action-packed weekend on 3 and 4 August.

While precise details of the circuits have not been released, the venues for the road cycling races are Pont d’Iéna and Invalides.

READ MORE: Olympic Games Paris 2024 sports calendar released

READ MORE: Tickets for Paris 2024: what's new

Road cyclists to watch at Paris 2024

To become an Olympic road cycling champion, many factors - including the circuit and weather - must play in your favour.

Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz won gold at Tokyo 2020 on a tough mountainous course that was favourable to his talents as a climber.

He is the face of Latin American road cycling, however other cyclists such as Colombia’s Egan Bernal, who has returned after a crash in January, are also among the favourites.

There are many new stars and veterans aiming for gold in Paris, including a raft of talent from Europe.

Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar has already shown his ability to star on French soil after winning the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021, and coming home second in the 2022 edition. He also has Olympic pedigree, having won bronze at Tokyo 2020. His compatriot Primoz Roglic, who has won La Vuelta a España on three occasions will be among the favourites for both the road race and the time trial, and is the defending champion in the latter.

Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard wore the yellow jersey at the 2022 Tour de France, while there are many rising stars including the Belgians Remco Evenepoel and Wout Van Aert, who was a silver medallist at Tokyo 2020.

READ MORE: Top things to know about Richard Carapaz

In the women’s competition, one name has stood above all others in recent years: Annemiek Van Vleuten. The Dutch cyclist banished the demons of a serious crash at Rio 2016 to win time trial gold and road race silver at Tokyo 2020, however has since announced she will retire in 2023.

Her compatriots, Demi Vollering, runner-up in the Tour de France Femmes 2022 (Van Vleuten was the winner), Lorena Wiebes and London 2012 gold medallist Marianne Vos will all be aiming for the podium should they qualify for Paris 2024.

Italy's Elisa Balsamo, who won gold at the 2021 World Championships at just 23 years of age, is one to watch, as are compatriots Marta Cavalli, who won the Classic La Flèche Wallonne in 2022, and Elisa Longo, who won bronze at Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016.

However, all of them will be wary of the talents of Austria's Anna Kiesenhofer, who is aiming to defend her Olympic title. Although she is a master of the time trials, she surprised the field in the Tokyo 2020 women’s road race by breaking away unnoticed and racing to victory to the bemusement of the peloton containing many of the favourites.

Road cycling qualification timeline to Paris 2024

  • XX October 2022- XX October 2023 [at the end of the 2023 season, specific day TBD]: Qualification period
  • TBD: 2023 Continental Championships for Africa
  • TBD: 2023 Continental Championships for Asia
  • TBD: 2023 Continental Championships for America
  • 3-13 August 2023: 2023 UCI Road World Championships - 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Glasgow and Scotland (GBR)
  • XX October 2023 [at the end of the 2023 season, specific day TBD]: Establishment of the UCI World Rankings
  • XX November 2023 [specific day TBD]: Deadline by which the UCI must confirm to the NOCs the number of quota places obtained
  • XX December 2023 [specific day TBD]: Deadline by which the NOCs must confirm the use of quota places obtained to the UCI
  • 1 January 2024 - 30 June 2024: UCI to reallocate all unused quota places
  • 8 July 2024: Paris 2024 sport entries deadline
  • 26 July - 11 August 2024: Olympic Games Paris 2024

Find out more about the qualification system for other sports that will feature at Paris 2024.

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