The end of the 2023 road season brings with it the confirmation of team sizes for the Paris Olympic Games men’s and women’s road events.
The UCI rankings have granted Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Great Britain and France the maximum quota of four riders for the men’s road race, while the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and Poland have four riders in the women’s road race.
On the men’s side, Spain was close to reaching France’s total but fell short before the season’s end. They will race with three riders as will the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and the United States.
Great Britain, Australia, France, Germany and Canada will both send three riders to the women’s road race, while the USA, Denmark, and Spain are among the five nations set to field two starters.
Rankings are taken from each nation’s eight best riders throughout the season with Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) the top scorer for France in 2023 and likely to be the host nation’s leader on the Classics-style parcours revealed earlier this year during the Tour de France.
The next 10 highest-ranked nations will ride with a pair, including Ireland, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Colombia, Portugal, Norway, Canada and Kazakhstan. The next 25 nations in the rankings received one spot.
The women’s rankings see the top five nations get four places, followed by three for places 6-10, two for places 11-20, and then one apiece for nations ranked 21-45.
It’s often one of the most unpredictable and fascinating races of the year due to the smaller national teams, lack of race radio and chaos on such difficult courses, with the route for Paris 2024 no different. It isn’t as difficult in terms of pure climbing compared to Tokyo 2020, but the men’s race will be 273km long with repeated efforts on small climbs in Paris totalling 2,800m of elevation gain for a brutal day in the saddle. The women’s race totals 158km with 1,700m of elevation.
The real dilemma for nations is the Olympic Time Trial, with significantly fewer riders able to compete in the men’s field of 35, decided by the top 25 ranked nations and the other 10 coming from the top ten nations at the World Championships ITT.
Belgium, Great Britain and Switzerland are among those who qualified for two allocated spots, meaning there will be no issues for Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert to compete alongside each other as is for European Champion Josh Tarling and Geraint Thomas and Stefan Küng and Stefan Bissegger…