Olympics cycling: TV schedule and how to watch

A cycling fan's guide to watching Rio 2016

Samba! Beach volleyball! Rum-based cocktails of lethal potency! These are just some of the delightful things that spring to mind at the words 'Rio de Janeiro'. But what about bikes? Read on for our guide to watching cycling at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Schedule of cycling events at Rio 2016

At this year's Olympics, the cycling events will get underway on Saturday 6th with the men's road cycling – the day after the opening ceremony. Expect fireworks. 

The women's road race follows, then comes the time trial racing, followed by the BMX racing, with the track cycling wrapping things up. All Olympics cycling events will be finished on Tuesday 16 August, so make sure you've got plenty of space on your DVR and in your social calendar between these dates.

What follows is the schedule of every 2016 Olympic cycling event. Check your local listings for specific television coverage. BBC will be doing blanket coverage in the UK, and NBC will be airing cycling online and on some of its channels in the US

Road cycling (6-7 August)

The road cycling events get underway on 6th August
The road cycling events get underway on 6th August

The start venue for the road racing events is Fort Copacabana, a military base at the southern end of Brazil's most famous beach. The course is super-hilly – leading some pros like Lizzie Armitstead to rule themselves out as favourites – and will suit the climbers.

  • Saturday 6th August: The men's 256.4km (150mi) road race starts at around 9:30am local time (1.30pm UK time / 8:30am EST / 10:30pm Sydney time).
  • Sunday 7th August: The women's 141km (87.6mi) road race starts at around 12.30pm local time (4.30pm UK time / 11:30am EST / 1:30am Monday in Sydney).

Road time trial (10 August)

The road time trial events will be hilly and tough – should suit a certain yellow jersey winner
The road time trial events will be hilly and tough – should suit a certain yellow jersey winner

We have a few days' breather before the road time trial, which takes place in the Pontal peninsula on Wednesday 10th August for both men and women. The course will again be hilly, suiting the likes of Chris Froome, who destroyed the field on stage 18 of this year's Tour de France, a mountain time trial.

  • Wednesday 10th August: The women's 29.8km (18.5mi) road time trial starts at 8:30pm local time (12.30pm UK time / 07:30am EST / 9:30pm in Sydney).
  • Wednesday 10th August: The men's 59.6km (37mi) road time trial starts at 10am local time (2pm UK time / 9am EST / 11pm in Sydney).

Track cycling events (11-16 August)

The track events will be held at the Rio Olympic Velodrome
The track events will be held at the Rio Olympic Velodrome

It all kicks off with loads of track cycling events later the same week, being held at the newly-built Rio Olympic Velodrome and starting with the men's team pursuit and team sprint on Thursday 11th August. There are ten medal events in all, held all day long for the next five days, and the track cycling action finishes on Tuesday 16th August with the women's sprint event.

  • Thursday 11th August: Men's team sprint qualifying, first round and finals; men's team pursuit qualifying; women's team pursuit qualifying.
  • Friday 12th August: Men's sprint qualifying and 1/16 finals; men's team pursuit first round and finals; women's team pursuit qualifying; women's team sprint first round and finals.
  • Saturday 13th August: Men's sprint 1/8 finals, quarter finals and semi finals; women's Keirin first round, second round and finals; women's team pursuit first round and finals.
  • Sunday 14th August: Men's omnium scratch race, omnium individual pursuit and omnium elimination race; men's sprint finals; women's sprint qualifying and finals.
  • Monday 15th August: Men's omnium time trial, omnium flying lap and omnium points race; women's sprint 1/8 finals; women's omnium scratch race, omnium individual pursuit and omnium elimination race.
  • Tuesday 16th August: Men's Keirin first round, second round and finals; women's sprint quarter finals, semi-finals and finals; women's omnium time trial, omnium flying lap and omnium points race.

BMX events (17-18 August)

The BMX events take place at the Olympic BMX Centre
The BMX events take place at the Olympic BMX Centre

Time for the bicycle motocrossers to have their turn, racing at the Olympic BMX Centre. The BMX races start on Wednesday 17th August with the seeding runs, and finish on Friday 19th August with the men's BMX final.

  • Wednesday 17th August: Men's BMX seeding run; women's BMX seeding run.
  • Thursday 18th August: Men's BMX quarter finals.
  • Friday 19th August: Men's BMX semi-finals and final; women's BMX semi-finals and final.

Cross-country mountain biking events (20-21 August)

The cross-country races wrap up the Olympic cycling events on 20/21 August
The cross-country races wrap up the Olympic cycling events on 20/21 August

Finally, we come to the moment all mountain bikers have been waiting for – the Olympic cross-country races. The action starts on Saturday 20th August with the women's race, and finishes with the men's race on Sunday 21st August.

  • Saturday 20th August: The women's cross-country mountain bike race starts at 12:30pm local time (4.30pm UK time / 11:30am EST / 1:30am Sunday in Sydney).
  • Sunday 21st August: The men's cross-country mountain bike race starts at 12:30pm local time (4.30pm UK time / 11:30am EST / 1:30am Monday in Sydney).
Jamie Beach

Deputy Editor, UK
Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
  • Discipline: Road, gravel
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
  • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Kona Cindercone
  • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01
  • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
  • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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