Bradley Wiggins leads the GB team pursuit on their way to qualifying fastest at the 2016 Olympic Games (Watson)The cycling calendar is usually quite a fixed affair, with the same races appearing every season generally in the same familiar slot. But every four years a spanner gets thrown in the works in the form of the Olympic Games.

2016 is, of course, one of those years, and between August 6-10 this year the world’s best riders on the road will convene in Rio de Janeiro in the hope of adding an Olympic medal to their palmares, with the world’s best riders on the track taking centre stage between August 11-16.

BMX (August 17-19) and mountain bike cross-country (August 20-21) complete the cycling events.

>>> Rio 2016 Olympic Games cycling events medal table

Road events

The most comparable annual race on the road calendar to the Olympic road race is the World Championships. Both events feature a circuit-based road race and lengthy time-trial, and in both events riders compete for their nation rather than their trade team.

Unlike the Worlds and most other races, where failure one year is at least compensated by the chance to try again in 12 months’ time, riders only get a few shots at winning an Olympic medal throughout their entire careers, and consequently the event attracts stellar fields.

Greg Van Avermaet wins the men's road race at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Greg Van Avermaet wins the men’s road race at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) won the men’s road race from a three-man group, with Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) claiming silver and Rafal Majka (Poland) bronze. Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas had been in a chasing group, but crashed on the final descent.

Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) won the women’s road race ahead of Emma Johansson (Sweden) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy). Great Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead was fifth.

Both road race routes were tough and hilly. The riders tackled two circuits, the first featuring the narrow Grumari climb (1.2km with average gradient of 7 per cent and a peak of 13 per cent) and the dragging Grota Funda (which rarely strays from its 4.5 per cent average over its 2.1km distance).

The toughest obstacle was saved for the second circuit, which featured a much longer climb (8.5km in total) in the form of the Vista Chinesa, with an average gradient of 5.7 per cent. Tackled once by the women and three times by the men, this is where the decisive moves were made.

Kristin Armstrong (USA) endured tough weather conditions and a nose bleed to take gold in the women’s time trial ahead of Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) and Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands). It’s Armstrong’s third Olympic TT title. Britain’s Emma Pooley finished in 14th place.

Chris Froome took Britain’s first cycling medal of the 2016 Games in the men’s time trial, finishing behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and silver medallist Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands).

Track events

Following the road events will be six days of track cycling held in the newly-built Rio Olympic Velodrome.

Upholding the changes made in 2012, there will be ten events in total, five for the women and five for the men (see below).

Great Britain has dominated at the previous couple of Olympics, winning seven velodrome golds in each, and look set to have another strong team capable of bringing home plenty of medals.

The opening night on the track saw Great Britain take gold in the men’s team sprint, and qualify fastest for the men’s and women’s team pursuit – with the latter setting a new world record.

Bradley Wiggins, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Ed Clancy set a new world record in the men’s team pursuit on Friday to take Britain’s second gold medal in the cycling events. China won the women’s team sprint.

Owain Doull, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Sir Bradley Wiggins on the podium after winning the gold medal in the 2016 Olympic team pursuit (Watson)

Owain Doull, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Sir Bradley Wiggins on the podium after winning the gold medal in the 2016 Olympic team pursuit (Watson)

Some of the heroes of London 2012, including Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, are now retired, but plenty of big names remain. Defending omnium champion Laura Trott returns with four more years’ experience under her belt (she was just 20 when she won gold in London), as does defending individual sprint champion Jason Kenny.

Also returning to the track are two of British cycling’s biggest names – Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. Cavendish is targeting the omnium in attempt to finally land the Olympic gold medal he craves having missed out at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Wiggins successfully claimed his eighth medal (in the team pursuit) to become Britain’s most decorated Olympian.

Team GB’s main rivals are likely to be the usual suspects in the shape of France and Australia. The French dominated the men’s events at the 2015 World Championships with Gregory Bauge and Francois Pervis claiming two golds each, while Australia starred in the women’s events with Annette Edmondson twice edging out British opposition to win a couple of golds and the evergreen Anna Meares adding one more to her huge career tally.

Rio Olympics: Schedule

Road events

August 6: Men’s road race (237.5km) Start list | Preview | Report
August 7: Women’s road race (136.9km) Start list | Preview | Report
August 10: Men’s time trial (54.56km) Start list | Preview | Report
August 10: Women’s time trial (29.86km) Start list | Preview | Report

Track schedule

(UK/ROI time is shown in brackets)

August 11
16:00-16:16 (20:00-20:16) Men’s Team Sprint Qualifying Report
16:19-17:10 (20:19-21:10) Women’s Team Pursuit Qualifying Report
17:10-17:23 (21:10-21:23) Men’s Team Sprint First Round
17:23-18:19 (21:23-22:19) Men’s Team Pursuit Qualifying Report
18:21-18:29 (22:21-22:29) Men’s Team Sprint Finals Report
18:35-18:45 (22:35-22:45) Men’s Team Sprint Victory Ceremony Report

August 12
16:00-16:14 (20:00-20:14) Women’s Team Sprint Qualifying
16:14-16:50 (20:14-20:50) Men’s Sprint Qualifying Report
16:52-17:17 (20:52-21:17) Men’s Team Pursuit First Round
17:17-17:28 (21:17-21:28) Women’s Team Sprint First Round
17:30-17:58 (21:30-21:58) Men’s Sprint 1/16 Finals Report
18:00-18:08 (22:00-22:08) Women’s Team Sprint Finals Report
18:08-18:18 (22:08-22:18) Men’s Sprint 1/16 Final Repechages
18:20-18:50 (22:20-22:50) Men’s Team Pursuit Finals Report
18:50-19:00 (22:50-23:00) Women’s Team Sprint Victory Ceremony
19:00-19:10 (23:00-23:10) Men’s Team Pursuit Victory Ceremony

August 13
Session 1
10:00-10:21 (14:00-14:21) Women’s Keirin First Round
10:23-10:42 (14:23-14:42) Men’s Sprint 1/8 Finals
10:44-11:05 (14:44-15:05) Women’s Keirin First Round Repechages
11:07-11:15 (15:07-15:15) Men’s Sprint 1/8 Final Repechages
11:17-11:40 (15:17-15:40) Women’s Team Pursuit First Round

Session 2
16:00-16:16 (20:00-22:16) Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals – Race 1 Report
16:18-16:22 (20:18-20:22) Men’s Sprint Race for 9th-12th Places Report
16:22-16:34 (20:22-20:34) Women’s Keirin Second Round
16:34-16:50 (20:34-20:50) Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals – Race 2 Report
16:53-17:21 (20:53-21:21) Women’s Team Pursuit Finals Report
17:21-17:25 (21:21-21:25) Men’s Sprint Quarterfinals – Race 3 Report
17:27-17:33 (21:27-21:33) Women’s Keirin Finals 7-12 Report
17:33-17:39 (21:33-21:39) Women’s Keirin Finals 1-6 Report
17:41-17:49 (21:41-21:49) Men’s Sprint Semifinals – Race 1 Report
17:49-17:59 (21:49-21:59) Women’s Team Pursuit Victory Ceremony
17:59-18:07 (21:59-22:07) Men’s Sprint Semifinals – Race 2 Report
18:07-18:17 (22:07-22:17) Women’s Keirin Victory Ceremony
18:17-18:21 (22:17-22:21) Men’s Sprint Race for 5th-8th Places Report
18:21-18:25 (22:21-22:25) Men’s Sprint Semifinals – Race 3 Report

August 14
16:00-16:38 (20:00-20:38) Women’s Sprint Qualifying Report
16:40-17:02 (20:40-21:02) Men’s Omnium 15km Scratch Race Report
17:04-17:12 (21:04-21:12) Men’s Sprint Finals – Race 1 Report
17:12-17:40 (21:12-21:40) Women’s Sprint 1/16 Finals Report
17:42-17:50 (21:42-21:50) Men’s Sprint Finals – Race 2 Report
17:50-18:47 (21:50-22:47) Men’s Omnium 4km Individual Pursuit Report
18:47-18:51 (22:47-22:51) Men’s Sprint Finals – Race 3 Report
18:51-19:29 (22:51-23:29) Women’s Sprint 1/16 Final Repechages Report
19:29-19:39 (23:29-23:39) Men’s Sprint Victory Ceremony
19:42-20:00 (23:42-00:00) Men’s Omnium Elimination Race Report

August 15
Session 1
10:00-10:19 (14:00-14:19) Women’s Sprint 1/8 Finals
10:21-10:48 (14:21-14:48) Men’s Omnium : Kilometre time trial Report
10:50-10:57 (14:50-14:57) Women’s Sprint 1/8 Final Repechages
10:59-11:17 (14:59-15:17) Women’s Omnium 10km Scratch Race Report

Session 2
16:00-16:24 (20:00-20:24) Men’s Omnium Flying Lap Report
16:26-16:30 (20:26-20:30) Women’s Sprint Race for 9th-12th Places
16:30-17:20 (20:30-21:20) Women’s Omnium 3km Individual Pursuit
17:23-18:15 (21:23-22:15) Men’s Omnium 40km Points Race Report
18:17-18:35 (22:17-22:35) Women’s Omnium Elimination Race Report
18:35-18:45 (22:35-22:45) Men’s Omnium Victory Ceremony

August 16
Session 1
10:00-10:16 (14:00-14:16) Women’s Sprint Quarterfinals – Race 1
10:18-10:39 (14:18-14:39) Men’s Keirin First Round
10:41-10:57 (14:41-14:57) Women’s Sprint Quarterfinals -Race 2
10:57-11:19 (14:57-15:19) Women’s Omnium 500m Time Trial Report
11:19-11:23 (15:19-15:23) Women’s Sprint Quarterfinals – Race 3
11:25-11:46 (15:25-15:46) Men’s Keirin First Round Repechages
11:46-11:50 (15:46-15:50) Women’s Sprint Race for 5th-8th Places

Session 2
16:00-16:08 (20:00-20:08) Women’s Sprint Semifinals – Race 1
16:10-16:36 (20:10-20:36) Women’s Omnium Flying Lap Report
16:36-16:44 (20:36-20:44) Women’s Sprint Semifinals – Race 2
16:46-16:58 (20:46-20:58) Men’s Keirin Second Round
16:58-17:02 (20:58-21:02) Women’s Sprint Semifinals – Race 3
17:05-17:42 (21:05-21:42) Women’s Omnium 25km Points Race Report
17:44-17:52 (21:44-21:52) Women’s Sprint Finals – Race 1
17:52-18:02 (21:52-22:02) Women’s Omnium Victory Ceremony
18:04-18:12 (22:04-22:12) Women’s Sprint Finals – Race 2 Report
18:14-18:20 (22:14-22:40) Men’s Keirin Finals 7-12
18:20-18:26 (22:20-22:26) Men’s Keirin Finals 1-6
18:26-18:30 (22:26-22:30) Women’s Sprint Finals – Race 3
18:30-18:40 (22:30-22:40) Men’s Keirin Victory Ceremony
18:40-18:50 (22:40-22:50) Women’s Sprint Victory Ceremony

BMX and MTB

August 17: BMX men’s and women’s seeding runs
August 18: BMX men’s quarter finals
August 19: BMX men’s and women’s finals
August 20: Women’s mountain bike cross-country
August 21: Men’s mountain bike cross-country

Current Olympic Champions (2012)

Road

Men road race: Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz)
Women road race: Marianne Vos (Ned)
Men time trial: Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
Women time trial: Kristin Armstrong (USA)

Track

Men sprint: Jason Kenny (GBr)
Women sprint: Anna Meares (Australia)
Men team sprint: Great Britain (Hindes, Hoy, Kenny)
Women team sprint: Germany (Vogel, Welte)
Men keirin: Chris Hoy (GBr)
Women keirin: Victoria Pendleton (GBr)
Men team pursuit: Great Britain (Clancy, Thomas, Burke, Kennaugh)
Women team pursuit: Great Britain (King, Trott, Rowsell)
Men omnium: Lasse Norman Hansen (Den)
Women omnium: Laura Trott (GBr)

BMX

Men: Maris Strombergs (Lat)
Women: Mariana Pajon (Col)

Mountain bike cross-country

Men: Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)
Women: Julie Bresset (Fra)

Past winners

Men’s road race

2012: Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz)
2008: Samuel Sanchez (Spa)
2004: Paolo Bettini (Ita)
2000: Jan Ullrich (Ger)
1996: Pascal Richard (Sui)

Women’s road race

2012: Marianne Vos (Ned)
2008: Nicole Cooke (GBr)
2004: Sara Carrigan (Aus)
2000: Leontien Zijlaard (Ned)
1996: Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Ita)

Men’s time trial

2012: Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
2008: Fabian Cancellara (Sui)
2004: Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)
2000: Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)
1996: Miguel Indurain (Esp)

Women’s time trial

2012: Kristin Armstrong (USA)
2008: Kristin Armstrong (USA)
2004: Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned)
2000: Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned)
1996: Zulfiya Zabirova (Rus)