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Olympic Games: UCI announces breakthrough gender parity for Paris 2024

Huge progress on tap for Paris after Tokyo saw 130 men versus just 67 women in road races. However paracycling lags behind.

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The UCI has announced that for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, gender parity will exist across all cycling events at Paris 2024.

The governing body confirmed Monday the number and divide of qualification places for the next Olympic Games, with a total of 90 men and 90 women eligible to compete in the road races.

These will comprise 88 places for men and for women. There will also be, under the usual host country benefit, an extra two places for men and two places for women for the host country France.

A smaller number of 35 riders of each gender will compete in the time trial events.

The gender divide was markedly different at Tokyo 2020. 130 men versus just 67 women competed in the road races, almost 50 percent less women than men.

The split between men and women for the time trial was also skewed, 41 to 26.

The road events were the source of the inequality, with parity existing across the six different track disciplines of keirin, omnium, individual sprint, team pursuit, team sprint and Madison, as well as the MTB events and the BMX races.

Indeed one more woman raced in the omnium than in the men, with 20 males lining out versus 21 females.

The parity in the latter events will be preserved for 2024. 95 of each gender will compete in the track events, 34 of each in the MTB cross country races and 24 of each in BMX.

However there is still a marked skew in the Paralympic events; there are a total of 140 qualification places for men, and just 80 for women.

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How competitors will qualify:

In addition to the gender parity details, Monday’s announcement by the UCI gave more detail on how exactly places will be offered.

Road events:

Out of the total of 180 qualification places, a total of 160 (80 per gender) will be allocated on the basis of the UCI road world ranking by nation. The final UCI rankings will be published in October 2023, and will be drawn from results recorded in UCI elite and U23 events on the UCI International Calendar during the 52 weeks preceding that point.

There will be a further eight places each for men and women from nations who didn’t qualify via this system; instead these places will be determined by their results at the 2023 road world and continental championships. The UCI notes that this route excludes Europe and Oceania.

A further four places will go to France as host country of the Games.

Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) is entitled to a maximum of eight places, four for men and four for women.

As for the time trials, there is an allocation of 35 per gender. Only those National Olympic Committees who qualified for places in the road race are eligible to be allocated places, and only two per NOC and per gender.

Track events:

There are 95 places for men and 95 per women across the six disciples (keirin, omnium, individual sprint, team pursuit, team sprint and Madison). Each NOC can have a maximum of 14 places, seven for men and seven for women.

Places will be allocated based on the UCI Olympic track ranking 2022-2024, which will be established for each event according to points acquired at:

  • The last two editions of the respective continental championships
  • The two best results of the UCI track nations cup in each of the 2023 and 2024 seasons
  • The 2023 UCI (elite) track world championships.

MTB and BMX:

The 72 MTB cross country places will comprise 34 each for men and women, two additional places per gender for the host country, and an additional two places per gender for what the UCI terms universality places. These are defined as “quotas that promote the development of sport and offer equal opportunities to emerging countries.”

BMX Racing will also allocate two places per gender to the host country, and two per gender as universality places. There are a further 22 places for men and 22 for women, totaling a total quota of 48.

The UCI states that the BMX freestyle qualification documents will be published shortly on the UCI website. A link to the qualification documents for MTB racing returned an error, with these qualification documents presumably also to follow.

Paracycling events:

The total of 220 places (140 for men, 80 for women) will be allocated on the following basis. 47 places for men and 28 for women will be allocated initially according to the 2022 UCI paracycling nations rankings, with a further 88 places for men and 47 for women according to the 2024 UCI paralympic ranking combining UCI road and track competitions between 1st January 2023 and 30 June 2024.

This ranking will include the 2023 paracycling road worlds, 2023 and 2024 paracycling track worlds, and the 2023 and 2024 UCI paracycling road world cup.

In addition, five eligible male athletes and five eligible female athletes will receive an invitation from the Bipartite Commission.

Publication dates of final UCI rankings of the different Olympic and Paralympic disciplines:

Road cycling**: October 2023
Track***: 15 April 2024
Mountain bike: 28 May 2024
BMX Racing: 4 June 2024
Paracycling road and track: 1st July 2024

**The exact date will be communicated on the UCI website following the publication of the 2023 UCI road international calendar.
***At the end of each event, the UCI will publish the results on the UCI website and update the corresponding UCI Olympic track ranking.

The UCI has stated that the confirmation date for the BMX freestyle quotas will be announced shortly.