Right off the heat of the Tour de France and the Mountain Bike World Cups comes the biggest and most lustrous of all events — Olympic Cycling. The athlete’s final preparations are currently being made, and wheels are finally touching down in Tokyo, Japan.

Maxxis prototype Aspen Race semi-slick XC race tires, lightweight, fast-rolling, wide 2.4" high-volume cross-country mountain bike tires, World Champion Nino Schurter

Photo c. Maxxis

After an unprecedented year of COVID cancelations and rescheduling, the games in Tokyo carry weight beyond what we are used to even for an Olympic year. The postponed 2020 games gave way to a crescendo of excitement that will see the world’s very best cyclists finally compete on the Olympic stage.

specialized athlete racing on road bikes

Photo c. Brakethrough Media

The racing excitement starts on July 24 with the Men’s road race and concludes on August 8th on the track with Men’s Keirin. The 2021 Olympic games schedule is jam-packed with cycling, but it doesn’t stop at road racing. This year’s events also include cross country mountain bike, BMX racing, BMX freestyle, Time Trial, and tons of track events.

2016 World Champion and Olympic Team Member Chloe Dygert – Photo: Philip Beckman, used with permission

If you’re new to watching Olympic cycling or are curious about the different disciples — stay tuned were going to lay out the schedule, who to watch for, and what to watch!

Olympic Cycling Schedule & Events

Road Race

Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

The start venue for the men’s and women’s road race is the historic Musashinonomori Park. Surrounded by the Musashino Forest, the park will offer breathtaking views and lush greenery before the riders hit the mountainous course, finishing at the Fuji International Speedway.

Mount Fuji and the Mikuni Pass are on the menu for the road race, so look for climbers like Rolic, Woods, Valverde, and world champion powerhouse Alaphilippe to excel.

2020 Scott Addict RC aero road bike, custom World Champion rainbow Scott Addict RC of Annemiek van Vleuten, photo by Sam Flanagan

c. Scott, photos by Sam Flanagan

Riders like the Dutch powerhouse Vos and defending champ van der Breggen will surely keep the pedal to the medal in the women’s field. But don’t forget the others looking to disrupt the Dutch team, look for Spratt from Australia or Borghini of Italy to mix up race, especially in the climbs.

Tokyo arial view of Olympic cycling road race course 2021

The real test is who can recover from France with enough in the tank to conquer this grueling terrain (which is why some have already abandoned the Tour).

  • Date: 7/24 (mens) 7/25 (womens)
  • Time: 9:00 pm (men’s) 11:00pm (women’s) EST
  • Total distance: 234 km (men) 137 km (women)
  • Total elevation: 4865 m (men) 2692 m (women)

Road Time Trial

Cannondale SuperSlice TT bike, Tirreno-Adriatico, EF Pro Cycling Simon Carr, Bettini photo

c. Vision, Tirreno-Adriatico photos by Bettini photo

The time trial will take place at the Fuji International Speedway. The course boasts around 846 meters of elevation gain with two laps facing a 676-meter climb at 10 km and 32 km.

Tokyo Course Profile road race 2021

The lumpy course could favor riders like Roglic or two-time world champ Rohan Denni. All eyes are on Chole Dygert of Team USA in the women’s field, but the Dutch team will still be hard to beat.

  • Date: 7/28 (mens) 7/29 (womens)
  • Time: 11:30am-5:20pm *EST
  • Total distance: 22.1 km (men)
  • Total elevation: 846 m (men)

Olympic Mountain Bike Cross Country

If you’ve been following the action on Red Bull TV and watching the World Cups, you know this event has many favorites. The tech-heavy Izu MTB Course will be challenging enough, but with possible rain in the forecast, this is a race that anything can happen.

Mountain biking in the olympics

For the men, 2016 Olympic cycling champion Nino Schurter is coming back to form after a solid race at Les Gets in unfavorable weather conditions. He may be overshadowed a bit coming into the games, and no one can dispute the utter dominance of fellow countrymen Flückiger, coming to the 2021 games with four back-to-back World Cup wins (including short track). Another rider coming into form is current MTB World Champion Jordan Sarrou, and if the rain comes, this is a rider who excels in the mud.

Scott mountain bike at the olympics

The Dutch powerhouse Mathieu van der Poel is coming right off the Tour de France (after a long stretch in yellow, mind you) to the Tokyo games, and he has his eyes set on gold.

Canyon Lux CF SLX MvdP limited signature edition XC frameset, photo by Markus Greber air

Another road rider to watch out for is Tom Pidcock, coming back from shoulder surgery well-rested and hungry to grab Great Britain its first Olympic mountain bike medal.

Prototype Blackbox SRAM XX1 AXS integrated direct mount power meter chainring, photo by Michal Cerveny, Jordan Sarrou Specialized Stellenbosch camp S-Works Epic, rock riding

As for the women’s field, defending Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds is always a threat. Coming off a fantastic ride at the Les Getts World Cup — she has us convinced she could defend the title. However, she’ll have to stop the french powerhouse of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and a seemingly unbeatable Loana Lecomte.

Specialized Women's S-Works Epic for new Elite Women's 2018 World Champion Kate Courtney, photo by Michal Červený

Others looking to take the gold and have a good chance are former Elite World Champion Kate Courtney and fellow countrywomen Haley Batten.

Womens OXC favorites mountain bike cross country racing

Evie Richards and Rebecca Mcconnell are wild cards that could ride away from the field in a muddy technical race.

  • Date: 7/26 (men’s) 7/27 (women)
  • Time: 1:00am (men’s/women’s) EST
  • Total Distance: 4km /lap (7-9 laps expected)
  • Total ascent: 180 metres per lap

BMX Racing and Freestyle

A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com

The top BMX racers come from all over the world, some from traditional European cycling countries, like the Netherlands and France, as well as the USA, Australia, and Colombia. All will compete at the Ariake Urban Sports Park near Tokyo, the park will host both the racing and freestyle portion of BMX action.

BMX Racing Schedule

7/29

  • Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals

7/30

  • Men’s and Women’s Semifinals
  • Men’s and Women’s Final

BMX Freestyle Schedule

7/31

  • Women’s Park Seeding
  • Men’s Park Seeding

8/1

  • Women’s Park Final
  • Men’s Park Final

Track

There are many (many) disciplines for the Olympic cycling track, and unlike the road and MTB events, there are heats and a series of qualifying events to make it to the medal round. All events will be held at the Izu Velodrome just outside of Tokyo proper. For a more detailed list of events and how to best watch the action, check out our Track Guide here.

2020 Argon 18 Electron Pro track bike, aero carbon Olympic track racing bike_Cycling Australia UCI World Berlin

Olympic Track events and times

8/2

  • Women’s Team Sprint Qualifying
  • Women’s Team Pursuit Qualifying
  • Women’s Team Sprint First round
  • Men’s Team Pursuit Qualifying
  • Women’s Team Sprint Finals

2020 Argon 18 Electron Pro track bike, aero carbon Olympic track racing bike_Cycling Australia UCI World Berlin

8/3

  • Women’s Team Pursuit first round
  • Men’s Team Sprint Qualifying
  • Men’s Team Pursuit first round
  • Men’s Team Sprint First round
  • Women’s Team Pursuit Finals
  • Men’s Team Sprint Finals

8/4

  • Men’s Sprint Qualifying
  • Women’s Keirin First round
  • Men’s Sprint 1/32 Finals
  • Women’s Keirin
  • Men’s Sprint 1/32 Finals
  • Men’s Team Pursuit Finals
  • Men’s Sprint 1/16 Finals
  • Men’s Sprint 1/16 Finals

2020 Argon 18 Electron Pro track bike, aero carbon Olympic track racing bike_Cycling Australia UCI World Berlin

8/5

  • Men’s Omnium Scratch Race 1/4
  • Men’s Sprint 1/8 Finals
  • Women’s Keirin Quarterfinals
  • Men’s Sprint 1/8 Finals Repechages
  • Men’s Omnium Tempo Race 2/4
  • Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals
  • Women’s Keirin Semifinals
  • Men’s Omnium Elimination Race 3/4
  • Women’s Keirin Final 7-12
  • Women’s Keirin Final 1-6
  • Men’s Omnium Points Race 4/4
  • Men’s Sprint Race for 5th-8th Places

8/6

  • Women’s Sprint Qualifying
  • Men’s Sprint Semifinals
  • Women’s Sprint 1/32 Finals
  • Women’s Sprint 1/32 Finals
  • Women’s Madison Final
  • Men’s Sprint Finals
  • Women’s Sprint 1/16 Finals
  • Women’s Sprint 1/16 Finals

2020 Argon 18 Electron Pro track bike, aero carbon Olympic track racing bike_Cycling Australia UCI World Berlin

8/7

  • Women’s Sprint 1/8 Finals
  • Men’s Keirin First Round
  • Women’s Sprint 1/8 Finals
  • Men’s Keirin Repechages
  • Women’s Sprint Quarterfinals
  • Men’s Madison Final

8/8

  • Women’s Omnium Scratch Race 1/4
  • Women’s Sprint Semifinals
  • Men’s Keirin Quarterfinals
  • Women’s Omnium Tempo Race 2/4
  • Women’s Sprint Race for 5th-8th Places
  • Men’s Keirin Semifinals
  • Women’s Sprint Finals
  • Women’s Omnium Elimination Race 3/4
  • Men’s Keirin Final 7-12
  • Men’s Keirin Final 1-6
  • Men’s Keirin Victory Ceremony
  • Women’s Omnium Points Race 4/4

How to watch the cycling at the Tokyo Olympics

Peacock Olympics coverage Cycling

OK — so now that we’re dialed in and formally stoked about what to watch and who to watch, now to the most important; how to watch.

There are a few ways to get the Olympic action to your TV, phone, etc. NBC will broadcast the Olympics in the USA, with additional coverage on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. Another way to watch the games are on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service (those who are watching the tour will be familiar with this service)

How to watch the Olympics 2021 Peacock

From what we understand, NBC will broadcast the major Olympic events and coverage; if you’d like to see all the action, check out the service’s Tokyo NOW channel. The dedicated channel will begin streaming on July 24, with live competition’s from 6-11 a.m. ET on Tokyo LIVE, followed by Tokyo Gold from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. PT.

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