The men's and women's road races will form part of the opening weekend of action at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with two very different courses for the two medal events.
The routes will favour the climbers, with the men’s parcours tackling four climbs, including the outer slopes of the formidable Mt Fuji. The women’s course misses the Mt Fuji loop altogether but still features a total elevation of 2,692 metres compared with the men's 4,865 metres of climbing.
Both courses will start in Musashino-no-mori Park on the outskirts of Tokyo and follow the same route southwest towards the Fuji International Speedway. That part of the course includes two climbs, Donushi Road and Kagosaka Pass, with the road beginning to rise after 40 kilometres.
Doushi road is the tougher of the two ascents with a long ride up from the 40km mark before peaking out at 80km. Few details have been given of the climb but it is a gradual rise interrupted by a few short descents before reaching a maximum height of 1,121 metres. The steepest gradients appear to be closer to the top, which comes just before the riders arrive at Lake Yamanaka. From the top, there is a very short descent before the peloton goes around the lake. The second climb of Kagosaka Pass, which is slightly steeper, is much shorter than its predecessor.
It is here that the two routes will diverge, with the women’s race under 40 kilometres from its conclusion at the top of the climb. Following a lengthy descent, the women’s peloton will enter the Fuji International Speedway and complete a lap and a half of an undulating 17.7km circuit. The riders enter the loop by the Fuji Oyama Golf Club and head straight for the Formula 1 track. After that, they will make their way around the surrounding area before coming back onto the track for the finale.
The men will skip the motor racing circuit the first time and head immediately onto the Mount Fuji circuit. After a short ride through the valley, the road heads upwards again, as the riders take the Mt Fuji toll road. There will be no money spent here, just energy with the ascent topping out at 1,451 metres. The riders will not go onto the mountain proper, turning off when they reach Mizugatsuka Park and turning back down towards the motor racing circuit.
This time, they will go into the finishing loop from the bottom and make their way to the circuit. After a lap of the circuit, the route leaves the complex once again and heads over the Mikuni Pass and then the Kagosaka Pass for a second time. After the Kagosaka Pass, they take on the lengthy descent towards the entrance of the circuit, where they will head towards the track, completing just half a lap before contesting the finish.
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