Para-cycling appeared in the eighties, aimed only towards blind athletes. However, so that the sport could be more inclusive, other categories began to be integrated, for other types and levels of disability.
The athletes are integrated into the respective categories through an evaluation, carried out by specialized doctors from the UCI (International Cycling Union). Among the five categories that currently exist, four will be competing in the Para-cycling World Championship, since category D, for the deaf, is not part of this event.
The categories are divided into Handbike, Bicycle, Tricycle, and Tandem, and numbers are assigned in each one of them, according to the athlete’s functional classification.
The athletes with greater motor impairment, who may need a wheelchair to move around, compete on handbikes (bicycles propelled with the hands). These are identified by the letter H and the athletes are classified from 1 to 5, where the lowest number is equivalent to a lower degree of functionality. Athletes classified with H5 have less motor impairment, compared with those who were attributed the category H3, for example.
To the category in which athletes use a bicycle is given the letter C. In this category, as in the H category, there are five classes, in which athletes with amputations, problems related to muscular strength, and a range of movement impairments compete.
The Tricycle category, represented by the letter T, has only two classes: T1 and T2. In these, athletes with function in both upper and lower limbs compete, both compromised, since balance and coordination are quite affected.
In the B category, the oldest one, which integrates blind and low vision individuals, the athletes compete in Tandem bicycles, divided between the feminine and masculine sectors. These have two seats: one for the disabled athlete (behind) and another for the guide (in front).
The World Para-Cycling Championship will also include a team relay race, in which class H athletes will participate in female, male and mixed teams, competing simultaneously.