The end of the Vuelta a España has made the picture much clearer on which countries will have riders for the road races at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with Belgium leading the qualifying nations for men and the Netherlands for women.
The next month will be critical for countries to earn their spot for the road cycling events as only the top 5 nations earn the maximum allocation of four athlete entries.
The 2024 Games will be the first road races with field size parity between the men’s and women’s races and, because cycling did not gain any additional athlete allocations from the IOC, there will only be 180 total athletes in road cycling in Paris.
That means the road races will have only 88 men and 88 women, and the riders competing in the individual time trial must come from the riders selected for the road races. France gets at least two of those positions for being the host country for a total of 90 riders in each race.
It will make for an unusual racing dynamic – the elite men will race 273 kilometres on the Trocadéro route and the women will compete over 158 kilometres.
The various National Olympic Committees (NOC) earn 80 of the road race allocations through the UCI Nation Rankings, with the top five countries getting four rider slots, the rest of the top 10 being given three, 11th through 20th get two and 21st-45th get one spot.
Men’s Road Race
After the Vuelta a España, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia and France remain in the top five and in line to earn four athlete positions for the road race. Spain has knocked Great Britain out of the top five thanks to Mikel Landa, Enric Mas and Juan Ayuso‘s performances in the Vuelta.
The British shouldn’t give up hope for the maximum in the men’s Olympic event – they’re only 80 points from overtaking fifth-placed France. The Netherlands, Italy and Australia unlikely to challenge being 2,000 points adrift.
The United States, for the first time since 2012, stand to have more than two riders after climbing into 10th in late August. Kuss’ Vuelta victory has given the Americans a lead of more than 2,500 points over 11th-place Colombia, who along with Switzerland, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Eritrea are in line to get places for two riders.
Asian, African and American NOCs who have not earned a position for Paris from the Nation Rankings or Worlds results get a chance for another chance from the Continental championships. Those results earned Uruguay, Mauritius and Korea an entry…