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Cobbles, climbs and kilometres of beaches feature on road race route revealed today

Cobbles and climbs will feature on the men’s and women’s road race courses at the 2016 Olympics, with the courses confirmed today also showcasing some of the sights of Brazil’s largest city, including Copacabana beach.

Starting and finishing in Flamengo Park, the routes of both races will pass the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana ahead of tackling the first of two circuit s that feature in the course.

The Grumari circuit, at the western end of the course will be tackled four times by the men on Saturday 7 August – the first full day of competition – and once by the women a day later.

The circuit includes a 2 kilometre cobbled section as well as two climbs. The Grumari climb is narrow, averaging 7 per cent over 1.2 kilometres and has a maximum gradient of 13 per cent.

There’s also a longer but less steep Grota Funda climb, 2.1 kilometres in length, with an average gradient of 4.5 per cent and topping out at 6 per cent.

That will be followed by a coastal section back towards the city ahead of a second circuit, which the women will ride once and the men three times.

That circuit begins with the Canoas climb then continues to the 8.9km Vista Chinesa climb, ahead of a 6km descent.

The 29.8km course for the time trial – ridden once by the women, twice by the men, with both events taking place on Wednesday August 10 – has also been confirmed and will use the same Grumari circuit as the road race, with the start and finish at Tim Maia Square on Pontal beach.

UCI President Brian Cookson said: “The UCI has been working closely with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and Mayor Paes on the Road Race and Time Trial Courses for some time and I am delighted that the routes have now been agreed.

“The Road race mixes some of Rio de Janeiro’s most iconic backdrops such as Copacabana and Ipanema with some really testing sections such as the Grumari Circuit and the climb up to Canoas/Vista Chinesa. While the Time Trial course also includes the challenging topography of the area.

“The steep climb up Grumari Road, is sure to provide a unique test for Time Trial riders. Today’s confirmation of the Rio 2016 Road Race and Time Trial courses brings the start of Rio Games ever closer for riders across the world.”

Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, added: “The Olympic Road Race has historically incorporated iconic backdrops and Rio 2016 will be no exception.

“The eyes of the world will see the world’s best riders race alongside some of Rio’s well-known sites such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

“The route will also showcase areas of our great city that are less well known internationally such as Vista Chinesa. And I’m sure that the people of Rio de Janeiro will come out in huge numbers to cheer on riders right across this course.”

Coming at the start of the Olympic Games, the courses give organisers a chance to showcase Rio to the world, as happened at London 2012 when the planned circuit from Regent’s Park to the top of Hampstead Heath was scrapped in favour of one that headed southwest into Surrey, taking in a number of landmarks on the way.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.