Para-cycling Classifications explained

South Africa has the privilege of hosting the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg from 31 August to 3 September. Spectators stand on the side-lines to cheer and support the athletes, but how much do we all know about the classification of para-cycling athletes?

Based on the UCI Para-cycling Classification rules and regulations as well as, Classification of riders determines eligibility to compete as well as groups the athletes into relevant competing classes.

There are various impairment types eligible for para-cycling classification, including: Athetosis, Impaired muscle power, Hypertonia, Limb deficiency, Ataxia, leg length difference, and visual impairment.

Athletes with physical impairments will be eligible to compete on handcycles, tricycles or bicycles. Athletes with visual impairments will be eligible to compete on a tandem bicycle with another sighted rider named the “pilot”.

The classification is divided into sport classes * :

Handcycling (H)

Sport classes: H1-H5

There are five different classes for handcycling. The lower the number, the more severe the limitation of activity is.

H1-H4 cyclists compete in a fully-reclined position. These athletes have a loss in leg and trunk function, and limited arm function. H5 cyclists are able to sit on their knees in an upright position All handcyclists use their arms to accelerate.

Tricycling (T)

Sport classes: T, T2

There are only two sport classes in Tricycling. The impairments in this category usually affect balance and co-ordination. The tricycles assist with balance and increase stability. The lower the class number, the more severe the co-ordination or loss of muscle power is.

Bicycling (C)

Sport classes: C1-C5

The athletes who compete in this category use a standard bicycle. The athletes in these sport classes could be amputees, athletes with impaired muscle power in limbs, and also athletes with conditions affecting co-ordination.


Tandem (B)

Sport class: TB

Cyclists competing in this category have impaired vision, and ride on a tandem bicycle with a pilot rider up front who is sighted.

Cyclists with a visual impairment race tandem with a sighted cycler (pilot) in front. Sports classes range in this category from B3 (the least severe visual impairment) to B1 (the most severe visual impairment). All B riders however take part in the same event. *

The Championships will be staged from Thursday 31 August to Sunday 3 September, starting with the Time Trial competition for two days at the picturesque Midmar Dam on the 31st August and 1st September and then there will be two days of road racing, taking place in the city itself with Alexandra Park as the focal point.

Spectators are encouraged to come and support these phenomenal athletes as they battle it out with the best in the world to be crowned 2017 World Champions.

For more information about the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, go to:

To see more detail about UCI Para-cycling classification, click here:


* Description of para-cycling classification based on those of and