The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 have announced the routes on which the world’s top cyclists will compete for medals in the men’s and women’s road races. The scenic landscapes, iconic mountain backdrops and tough nature of the course will make for dramatic viewing.
The men will embark on a 230km route with nearly 5,000m of elevation gain. Setting out from Musashinonomori Park in Chofu, western Tokyo, they will head through stunning landscapes towards the iconic Mount Fuji, taking in three prefectures en route: Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka. The race will finish on the Fuji Speedway, the motorsport race track that has hosted Formula 1 Grand Prix events. Before battling it out for the medals in the final approach, the cyclists will have to tackle three difficult ascents, including the Mikuni Pass, at an altitude of 1,171m and requiring a climb of 6.8km – a 4km section of which has a gradient of 12 per cent.
The course will traverse the lower slopes of Mount Fuji and follow some of the dedicated cycling routes around Lake Yamanakako. The final part of the race will see the riders complete circuits around the Fuji Speedway.
The women’s race will cover 137km, and the course will be even more challenging than at the Games in Rio. With a total elevation gain of 2,692m, the route will see the cyclists climb 1,101m more than their counterparts on the Carioca course in 2016. Starting at the same place as the men, Musashinonomori Park, the female riders will tackle the long Doushi Road climb to reach the Kagosaka Pass, which stands at an altitude of 1,111m. They will then head down towards the Fuji Speedway to finish the race with 1.5 laps of the rolling circuit.
For the Mount Fuji circuit, grandstand seating will ensure that spectators don’t miss any of the action in the race finale – be it a bunch sprint or a breakaway.
“Some of the most daunting challenges of recent Games”
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said: “During the second half of the course, cyclists will face tough terrain around Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks. All in all, it will be an imposing course that will offer increasing excitement as it progresses, with the elevation changes providing some of the most daunting challenges of recent Games. We look forward to welcoming top athletes from around the world with an atmosphere that will be reminiscent of legendary European road races of the past.”
Taking in iconic tourist attractions such as the Fuji Five Lakes region, the routes will also guarantee an exciting spectacle for fans lining the roadside and spectators worldwide watching the breath-taking images on television
UCI President David Lappartient commented: “An Olympic title is a major goal for any elite athlete, and the challenging and spectacular road race courses at Tokyo 2020 will provide a true test for the best cyclists in the world. Taking in iconic tourist attractions such as the Fuji Five Lakes region, the routes will also guarantee an exciting spectacle for fans lining the roadside and spectators worldwide watching the breath-taking images on television.”
Olympian and UCI Technical Advisor Thomas Rohregger said: “The local Organising Committee and the UCI have chosen spectacular courses that will suit the Olympic format perfectly. It will be difficult to control the race, and this will allow for lots of attacking and aggressive riding in the first stages of the races. The distances and elevation gain will require the riders to make perfect tactical decisions if they wish to win Olympic medals.”