On Tuesday, July 4, Paris Olympics, scheduled to take place from July 26, 2024, to August 11, 2024, announced the routes of the road race and time trial cycling events for the Olympic Games. The courses will showcase some of the most iconic landmarks and landscapes of the French capital and its surroundings, as well as challenge the riders with a variety of terrains and climbs.
Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet stated, "Road cycling races in cities are exceptional, and they are free access events for the fans. We’ll have a combination of a great show and great sporting event. It’s also the longest race in the history of the Olympic Games. It will be a difficult race with a very exciting final."
Road race: A tour of Ile-de-France
The road race will start and finish at the Trocadéro, near the Eiffel Tower, on Saturday 3, and Sunday 4 August 2024. The men's race will cover 273 km, the longest in Olympic history, while the women's race will be 158 km long. Both races will feature a 5 km neutralized parade through the city center, passing by Les Invalides, the Seine, and the Latin Quarter, before the official start on Rue Gay-Lussac.
The peloton will then head west to the Hauts-de-Seine département, where they will face the first climb of the day, the Côte des Gardes (1.9 km at 6%) in Meudon. They will also catch a glimpse of the Château de Versailles, which will host the equestrian events of the Games.
The next challenge will be the Chevreuse Valley, a hilly and wooded area that offers some of the most scenic views and roads in Ile-de-France. The riders will tackle several climbs, such as the Côte de Port-Royal (1 km at 5%), the Côte de Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (1.3 km at 6.3%), and the Côte de Châteaufort (900 m at 5.7%), where a memorial stone honors Jacques Anquetil, the first cyclist to win the Tour de France five times.
The women's race will end this section with the Côte de Cernay-la-Ville (1.1 km at 3.9%), while the men's race will add three more ascents: the Côte de Senlisse (1.3 km at 5.3%), the Côte d'Herbouvilliers (850 m at 5.7%) and the Côte de Bièvres (1.2 km at 6.5%).
The final 50 km of the race will be more urban and technical, as the riders will return to Paris and will have to negotiate through cobbled streets and tight corners, as well as face three laps of an 18.4 km circuit that includes a steep climb up Montmartre (1 km at 6.5%), one of the most famous and picturesque neighborhoods of Paris, with its Sacré-Cœur Basilica overlooking the city. The last lap will end with a flat 9.5 km stretch to the finish line on Pont d'Iéna, where the Eiffel Tower will welcome the Olympic champions.
Time trial: A sprint between monuments
The time trial will take place on Tuesday, 27 July 2024, between Les Invalides and Pont Alexandre-III, two of the most emblematic monuments of Paris. For the first time in Olympic history, men and women will share the same course for this event, which will consist of 32.4km of virtually incline-free terrain starting from the Esplanade des Invalides.
The circuit will start and finish on Esplanade des Invalides, a large open space that hosts a complex of buildings dedicated to military history and culture, including a museum, a hospital, and a church where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried. The riders will then cross Pont Alexandre-III, a bridge adorned with statues and lamps that spans over the Seine River.
The course will continue along the riverbank, passing by landmarks such as Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde, and Musée d'Orsay, before turning south to reach Porte de Sèvres. There, they will encounter a short but sharp climb of about 500 m at 7%, followed by a descent and a flat section that will lead them back to Pont Alexandre-III via Quai Branly and Avenue de la Bourdonnais.
The time trial will be a fast and spectacular event that will test the riders' power and aerodynamics, as well as offer stunning views of Paris' architecture and heritage.