Para cycling includes athletes who have a visual impairment, or physical impairment (limb deficientcy, athetosis/ataxia, hypertonia, impaired muscle power). Cyclists with a visual impairment ride in tandem with a sighted guide, known as a pilot. There are also events on tricycles or hand cycles based on impairment. As is the case at the Olympics, competition is held on a track (velodrome) and on the road.
Para cycling was first developed by cyclists with a visual impairment who competed using tandem bicycles. It was introduced as a Paralympic sport in Seoul in 1988. Track events were added for the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Canada has earned para-cycling medals at every Paralympics except the 2004 Games in Athens. The competition program includes sprints, individual pursuits, the 1,000-metre time trial, road races and road time trials for both individuals and teams.
Top stars include multiple world champion Shelley Gautier, a finalist in 2015 for the Laureus Sports Award for outstanding athlete in the world with a disability; Robbi Weldon, a dual-sport athlete in both Nordic skiing and cycling, who won para-cycling gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games with pilot Lyne Besette; and Tristen Chernove who took home a medal of each colour in Rio 2016.
The Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body while Cycling Canada is the National Sport Federation.
Athletes with physical impairments compete on handcycles, tricycles or bicycles, while those with a visual impairment compete on tandems. Handcycling includes five sport classes: H1-H5. Cyclists in H1-4 compete in a reclined position, while cyclists in H5 compete kneeling. There are two tricycle classes (T1 and T2) for athletes with impairments that affect their balance and co-ordination. Handcycling and tricycle athletes can compete in all road cycling events. Cyclists in sport classes C1-C5 compete on standard bicycle and compete in all road and track cycling events. Cyclists with a visual impairment (TB) compete together in one event and race tandem with a sighted pilot. C1-C5 and TB cyclists compete in all road and track cycling events.