With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just over a year away, qualification will be at the forefront of riders' minds as we head through the 2019 season. Qualification criteria are starting to be released
and the hype is starting to ramp up. Let's look at the challenge facing the riders when they head to East Asia next year. Where will the race be held?
The original plan was for a purpose built, 25,000 capacity venue to be constructed on the man-made Sea Forest island in Tokyo Bay, however it was reportedly a casualty of budget cuts and the new venue of Izu was announced in late 2015. Izu is 120km south of Tokyo but is home to Japan's Cycle Sport Centre and will also host the track events in its velodrome. The athletes will be able to stay in the main village in Tokyo but there will also be satellite villages closer to the venue. What will the track be like?
Izu currently has a mountain bike course with an elevation of 85 metres and a length of 2,500 metres, which will likely form the base for the Olympic circuit. The course was built in 2010 and features views of Mount Fuji as well as features designed for beginner and advanced cyclists.
It was last used in a major race for both the 2013 and 2014 Japanese National championships. The men's race was won by Takeshi Keisuke while Eri Norie Erikatsu won the women's
A highlight video of the race is below. The race was run before the venue was announced as the Olympic track and renovations will be taking place to raise it to Olympic standards before next year. Racing starts at 3 minutes.
We should know more about the course in October, after the Tokyo 2020 test event. Expect most of the top World Cup riders to be there testing out the course
and starting their preparations for racing it the year after.Extra Information
- The races are currently scheduled to take place on Saturday 8 August (women’s race) and Sunday 9 August (men’s race). Average temperatures for the region at the time can be higher than 30°C with humidity around 80%.
- This will be the seventh inclusion of mountain biking in the Olympic Games, the first was Atlanta in 1996.
- Reigning champions are Nino Schurter (Switzerland) and Jenny Rissveds (Sweden).
- There have been two double Olympic winners - France's Julien Absalon (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 ) and Italy's Paola Pezzo (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 ).