Your guide to the cycling events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

by Matt de Neef


The Tour de France is finished for another year, but don’t worry: we’re not in for the usual post-Tour lull that normally happens at this time. Nope, in 2021, we can turn our attention from the Tour straight to the Tokyo Olympics.

This isn’t your usual Olympics. For starters, it’s been delayed by a year due to COVID (it’s still called “Tokyo 2020” though). Spectators aren’t allowed, more than 80% of the Japanese people don’t want the Games to happen, and athletes are already testing positive for COVID in the Olympic village. Still, the Games are going ahead, and there’s plenty of cycling on the menu.

The following article is a guide to all of the cycling events at Tokyo 2020. All times listed here are specific to Tokyo. Here’s how to convert those times to other main timezones:

  • Pacific Daylight Time (Los Angeles): -16 hours
  • Mountain Daylight Time (Boulder): -15 hours
  • Eastern Daylight Time (New York): -13 hours
  • British Summer Time (London): -8 hours
  • Central European Summer Time (Berlin): -7 hours
  • Australian Eastern Standard Time (Melbourne): +1 hour

Road cycling

There are four road cycling events at Tokyo 2020: a road race and time trial for men, and the same for women.

Men’s road race

Date: Saturday July 24
Time: Starts 11am
Distance: 234 km
Elevation gain: 4,865 metres

A tough race with five recognised climbs, not least a climb partway up Mt. Fuji (14.3 km at 6%) and the steep Mikuni Pass climb (6.5 km at 10.6%). Stay posted for a full preview of the men’s road race, coming later this week.

Women’s road race

Date: Sunday July 25
Time: Starts 1pm
Distance: 137 km
Elevation gain: 2,692 m

Sadly the toughest climbs of the men’s race aren’t being raced by the women. Still, with nearly 2,700 metres of climbing, this will be a very hard race. Stay posted for a full preview later this week.

Women’s ITT

Date: Wednesday July 28
Time: Starts 11:30am
Length: 22.1 km

A very lumpy time trial.

Men’s ITT

Date: Wednesday July 28
Time: Starts 2pm
Length: 44.2 km

Two laps of the circuit used by the women. Again: very lumpy.

Mountain biking

There are two MTB races at Tokyo 2020: a cross country race for men and one for women.

Men’s cross country

Date: Monday July 26
Time: 3-5pm

The riders are expected to take on 7-9 laps of a tough 4.1 km circuit.

Women’s cross country

Date: Tuesday July 27
Time: 3-5pm

Here are the features of the MTB course used by the men and women. The numbers correspond with locations in the map above.

BMX

There are two flavours of BMX events happening in Tokyo: BMX Racing and BMX Freestyle.

BMX Racing

Dates: Thursday July 29 and Friday July 30
Time: From 10am both days

Quarterfinal runs are happening for men and women on the Thursday. Friday will host the semifinal runs and then the men’s and women’s finals.

BMX Freestyle

Dates: Saturday July 31 and Sunday August 1
Time: From 10:10am both days

Seeding events will happen for women (10:10am) and men (11:20am) on the Saturday. The finals will be contested on the Sunday, with the women first (10:10am) followed by the men (11:20am).

Track

Dates: Monday August 2 to Sunday August 8
Times: From 3:30pm each day, except Sunday August 8 (10am)

There are a massive number of individual races happening over the week of track cycling, from qualifying, to semifinals, through to gold-medal races. Follow the link for the full, race-by-race schedule and see below for a list of the medal events that are happening each day:

Monday August 2

  • 6:06pm: Women’s team sprint (bronze medal race)
  • 6:09pm: Women’s team sprint (gold medal race)

Tuesday August 3

  • 5:19pm: Women’s team pursuit (bronze)
  • 5:26pm: Women’s team pursuit (gold)
  • 5:41pm: Men’s team sprint (bronze)
  • 5:44pm: Men’s team sprint (gold)

Wednesday August 4

  • 5:59pm: Men’s team pursuit (bronze)
  • 6:06pm: Men’s team pursuit (gold)

Thursday August 5

  • 5:45pm: Women’s keirin
  • 5:55pm: Men’s omnium points race (final event of four)

Friday August 6

  • 5:15pm: Women’s madison final
  • 6:35pm: Men’s sprint finals – race 2
  • 6:50pm: Men’s sprint finals – decider

Saturday August 7

  • 4:55pm: Men’s madison final

Sunday August 8

  • 11:45am: Women’s sprint finals – race 2
  • 12:00pm: Men’s keirin final
  • 12:05pm: Women’s sprint finals – decider
  • 12:25pm: Women’s omnium points race (final event of four)

How to watch it

Want to watch these Olympic events and more? Here are the broadcasters that will have coverage in various territories around the globe. Follow the link for a full list of Olympic broadcasters, courtesy of the Tokyo 2020 website.

USA

To watch the Olympics on TV in the US, you’ll need access to the television networks of NBCUniversal. To stream it online, check out the NBC Sports app, NBCOlympics.com, and Peacock. Follow the link for a full breakdown of NBC’s Olympics coverage.

Australia

The Seven Network has broadcast rights in Australia. You’ll be able to catch all the action on TV via Channel Seven, 7mate, and 7Two, and livestreaming is available via 7Plus. Follow the link to read more about Seven’s coverage.

Canada

To watch in Canada, you’ll want to check out national broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada. CBC Television has TV coverage, while CBC Gem, the CBC Olympic site, and mobile app will have live streaming. Follow the link to check out more at the CBC website.

UK

There are two host broadcasters in the UK: the BBC and Eurosport. BBC is a free option, and will include content on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer, plus the BBC Sport website and app. Eurosport is a paid option and can be accessed both via TV and via live-streaming options.

Stay posted to CyclingTips for coverage of selected Olympic cycling events in the next two weeks.

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