Road to Gold: Paris 2024 Olympic Cycling Guide

By Tim Perkin

Since the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896, cycling has been part of the Olympic program and will be featured on the first day of the Paris 2024 Games. Interestingly, what is often overlooked is that after those inaugural Games, cycling was omitted from the Olympic programme, returning in 1912 with a time trial. Women’s cycling was only added in 1984 and the Atlanta Games in 1996 was the first time that professional cyclists could compete.

The first cycling event of the Paris 2024 Games will be the Time Trial. On 27th July, 35 men and 35 women will be battling it out for a prestigious gold medal. And for the first time in the history of Olympic Games, the 70 men and women will race on the same 32.4km course, starting at Esplanade des Invalides and finishing on the Pont Alexandre III bridge.

Time Trial course

 Riders will start at 1 minute 30 second intervals from the Esplanade des Invalides, which is located opposite the magnificent Hôtel des Invalides (built during the reign of Louis XIV in 1687). The route is mostly flat with only 150 meters of elevation and riders will pass by some of Paris’ historic sites during the race.  At around 5km, the peloton will pass Place de la Bastille which is a square in Paris where the Bastille prison once stood. Next, riders will reach the Vélodrome Jacques Anquetil, which was the finish line of the Tour de France from 1968 to 1974. The course then enters the Bois de Vincennes which is the largest public park in the city and built by Emperor Napoleon III. The first intermediate time check occurs at 13.4km, followed by another at 22.3km near Château de Vincennes.  Then, the riders will head to Place de la Nation before returning to Place de la Bastille following the same route, finishing on the Pont Alexandre III bridge over the river Seine.

(Image Source: Paris 2024)

Time Trial competitors

World Time Trial Champion, Remco Evenepoel will be wanting to secure victory for Belgium, but he will undoubtably be pushed hard by the British Rider Josh Tarling, who will want to replicate Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in 2012. Josh Tarling, who races for INEOS Grenadiers, may find himself going head-to-head for the gold medal with his Italian teammate, two-time World Time Trial Champion, Filippo Ganna.

It is unclear if previous winner, Primož Roglič will be able to defend his title due to the reduced size of the field. As a result of the smaller field, Slovenia has only one competition spot available, but the country is blessed with two worldclass riders in this discipline, Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar. With both of them capable of winning we can only anticipate who will be chosen to compete this year.

In the women’s category, with Annemiek van Vleuten, the previous winner having retired from the sport, a new Time Trail Champion will emerge this year. American Chloé Dygert can be considered one of the top contenders for the gold medal, having won both the United States National Time Trial Championships and the World Time Trial Championships in 2023.

Grace Brown from Australia narrowly missed the gold medal and came second to Dygert in the 2023 World Championships, finishing just 6 seconds behind. After missing a medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by coming fourth, Brown seems determined to secure a podium position this season.  This year, she has already won the Australian Time Trial Championship and the prestigious Liège–Bastogne–Liège race, showcasing strong performance and preparedness for the Olympic Games.

 Road Race Course

Unlike the Time Trial course, which is identical for both men and women, the Road Race will differ. Men will race first on 3rd August and ride a total distance of 273km, whilst women will race the next day (4th August) and ride a total of 158km.  The men’s course will include 2,800 metres of ascent, whilst women will have 1,700 meters to contend with. Both men’s and women’s race will begin and end at the Trocadéro, Paris.

Both races will enjoy a processional start where they will pass historic monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and racing will get underway on Rue Gay-Lussac, in the 5th arrondissement.

The pelotons will head out of Paris and the men will pass historic sites such as Château de Versailles, returning to it later in the day. This will also include a climb up Montmartre, a district in Paris famous  for Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s paintings. This short, punchy 6.5% climb will be tackled three times in total because when the race returns to the centre of Paris, the riders will complete two laps of a course that includes an ascent up La Butte Montmartre. This is the site of the magnificent Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, one of the most visited places in Paris.

The course contains 14 steep climbs for men and 9 for women. Riders will also have cobbled streets to contend with, which will favour the riders known for Classics like Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. This is genuinely a technical course that passes the Pont d’Iéna bridge, where if the peloton has stayed together, we can witness a sprint finish towards the Trocadéro.

(Image Source: Paris 2024)

Road Race Contenders

Cycling is a team sport, and the size of the team the different nations can field is dependent on their UCI rankings. The men’s teams for Great Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia and France can field a maximum of four riders. The women’s teams for Great Britain, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland can also field up to four riders. Ultimately, this gives those nations with more riders, a better opportunity of securing a medal.

With the current Olympic contenders, we might witness a repeat of the 2023 UCI World Championship podium with Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogačar. However, the generational talent, Pogačar, could make an audacious attack, similar to his performance in the Liège–Bastogne–Liège and ride away from everyone on one of the many climbs. It’s the Olympics, so anything is possible!

For the women’s race, there are several incredible riders and it’s challenging to predict a winner. Could Marianne Vos repeat her 2012 Olympic gold medal? Following her, there is Elisa Balsamo of Italy, who finished second in Paris-Roubaix Femmes, behind Lotte Kopecky, the current World Champion from Belgium.  Additionally, one cannot overlook Loren Wiebes, who has had a series of good results this year, and finally, can Anna Kiesenhofer from Austria defend her title?  It’s going to be exciting to watch.

Paris 2024 Road Cycling Schedule (CEST)

Day 1: 27th July 2024

Start: Invalides, Paris

Finish: Pont Alexandre III, Paris

Day 2:  3rd August 2024

Day 3:  4th August 2024


There is something extra special about the Olympics, perhaps it’s because they are only hosted every 4 years. But one thing is certain, every rider that lines up at the start line dreams of winning a medal and leaving their mark in the history books. Cycling, is one of those spectator events where you don’t need a ticket to experience, you can stand by the road and watch your heroes pass and witness history in the making. So maybe head over to Paris and experience Olympic cycling events firsthand.

About the Author

Tim has a passion for cycling and it was integral to regaining fitness after an arduous battle with cancer. Tim is the founder of Mountain Massif, who host esports cycling events. Over the years, Tim has written about a range of cycling topics, including testing and reviewing the major smart trainers. In addition, he has been fortunate to ride and interview some of the sports leading figures such as Tour de France winner Andy Schleck and sprint legend André Greipel.




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