The route sees the men's peloton tackle the slopes of Mount Fuji, among others - but the women's race skips the key climbs
The UCI has published official routes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic road race – and the men’s course looks like it will provide dramatic viewing.
Rumours of the inclusion of Mount Fuji have been confirmed – but the lower slopes of Japan’s highest mountain will be but a mid-way marker before riders tackle the Mikuni Pass 30 kilometres from the finish.
The women’s race, unfortunately, provides neither spectacle with the key climbs removed on a significantly shorter route.
Both races leave from Musashinonomori Park, with a 10km neutral zone before routing west via the Kagosaka Pass, passing through Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka.
The men’s race – which accumulates 4865 metres of climbing – then heads off for the ‘Mount Fuji Circuit’, which sees riders take on the lower slopes of the beast which attracts thousands of climbers every year.
On return, they’ll pass the spectacular Lake Yamanakako, using popular cycling routes.
Charging into the Fuji International Speedway racetrack, which will host the finish, riders will complete a short lap before moving on to the Mikuni Pass section. The 6.8km climb averages at 10.2 per cent, with sections at 12.6 per cent en route to the 1159 metre peak.
The next logical step is a long descent, which is followed by fairly flat terrain before the racers hit the Speedway circuit for the third and final time.
The women’s race bypasses much of the exciting detail of the men’s – there’s no Mount Fuji climb and the Mikuni Pass is excluded as well.
The 137km loop still contains a notable degree of elevation – at 2692 metres of climbing.
Riders begin in Japan’s metropolitan area, climbing the Doushi Road and Kagosaka Pass. The peloton then descents to the Fuji International Speedway, completing one lap before the finish.
At the 2016 Olympics, in Rio, the women covered 136km, comparative to the men’s 236km. However, both men and women used the same circuits – the second of which contained a tough two part climb and highly technical descent.
The men completed three laps to the women’s one lap – the shorter women’s race if anything creating a more explosive and exciting spectacle, before a flat 9.6km along the beachfront of Copacabana.
Temperatures may play a part in dictating who shines at the race, with Tokyo’s July and August average highs between 29 and 31°c.
Yoshiro Mori, President of Tokyo 2020, commented: “All in all, it will be an imposing course that will offer increasing excitement as it progresses, with the elevation changes providing some of the most daunting challenges of recent Games.”
David Lappartient, President of the UCI, commented: “An Olympic title is a major goal for any elite athlete, and the challenging and spectacular road race courses at Tokyo 2020 will provide a true test for the best cyclists in the world.”
Thomas Rohregger, former Olympic road cyclist and UCI Technical Advisor, stated: “The local Organising Committee and the UCI have chosen spectacular courses that will suit the Olympic format perfectly.
“It will be difficult to control the race, and this will allow for lots of attacking and aggressive riding in the first stages of the races. The distances and elevation gain will require the riders to make perfect tactical decisions if they wish to win Olympic medals.”