What’s the hardest discipline in cycling? Six current World Champions share their perspectives

Each one of them is the world’s best in their discipline, but how do the demands of winning gold compare across road, mtb, BMX and all the rest?

Six riders racing in GB kit
(Image credit: Getty Images - various)

The Cycling World Championships in Glasgow – the so-called ‘Super Worlds’ – felt like a mini-Olympics dedicated to everything on two wheels. Across 10 days at the start of August, every form of bike competition imaginable took place. Hardcore road racing fans found themselves fawning over the intricacies of artistic cycling, while mountain bikers were drawn into the thrills and spills of BMX. But what were the differences in demands between the 13 disciplines on display? From the raw power of the team sprint, to the technical ability to win freestyle BMX, what does it take to win the rainbow bands – and how do the pathways to success compare? Which is the hardest, which the scariest? 

Here, we speak to gold medal winners across six different disciplines to find out what it takes to become a world champion in their particular cycling specialism.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Joe Laverick
Full-time cyclist & part-time writer

Joe Laverick is a professional cyclist and freelance writer. Hailing from Grimsby but now living in Girona, Joe swapped his first love of football for two wheels in 2014 – the consequence of which has, he jokes, been spiralling out of control ever since. Proud of never having had a "proper job", Joe is aiming to keep it that way for as long as possible. He is also an unapologetic coffee snob.