Guide to Olympic Cycling: Mountain Biking

11 February, 2020

A mix of endurance, speed and tactics, Olympic Mountain Biking is full of epic and extreme fun. It's a mass-start race where it's anyone's game. An exciting event to watch, riders have just one chance to make it to the podium.

While you might not be well placed to make it to the podium yourself, the best way to get started is with one of our epic mountain bikes.

Read on to discover more about Olympic Mountain Biking and Aussies to look for.

What time is it on?

Times are in AEST. If you're viewing on mobile, you'll need to switch your phone to landscape mode to see the full guide.

If you just want to see the highlights, Channel 7 will be running a nightly recap show at 7pm (AEST) on its main channel.

Date Start Time End Time Discipline Event
20th Aug 1.30am 3:33am Mountain Biking Women's Final
21st Aug 1.30am 3:33am Mountain Biking Men's Final



Mountain biking began and was popularised in California in the 1970s as adventure riders used their bikes to explore. The sport made it’s Olympic Cycling debut at Atlanta 1996. Traditionally the Europeans have dominated this sport, in fact, France is the world leader in Olympic mountain bike racing.

The Event

The event consists of multiple laps around a 4.8km circuit of uneven ground, singletracks, rock gardens, steep climbs and tricky descents - if you can find it in the great outdoors, you’ll find it on this course, only dialled up to 11. This makes for an exciting, drama-filled spectacle. Riders need to be both technically skilled and clever - there’s a big group riding around this track so the best riders have to be cunning in getting to the front. The multi-lap race lasts between 90 minutes and 2 hours.

If riders experience a puncture or other malfunction they must either fix it themselves or get their bike to the Technical Assistance Zone. Thus riders need tough, rock-solid mountain bikes to complete this ride, as well as a sound knowledge of bike mechanics - knowing how to quickly change a trye could get them out of some pretty sticky situations.

Did you know?

It is mandatory for Olympic mountain bike tracks to include no more than 15% of flat terrain. As you would expect this makes for a challenging track of explosive uphill climbs and technical descents.

Aussies to look for

Men’s - Daniel McConnell, Cameron Ivory, Scott Bowden and Brendan Johnston

Women’s - Erin Dersham, Emma Moffatt and Ashleigh Gentle

Are we a medal chance?

Daniel McConnell is our best chance of medalling at Rio in this Olympic Cycling event. He’s ranked among the top ten riders in the world. This will be his third appearance in green and gold, and is looking to bring home a medal for Australia at Rio this year.

Rebecca Henderson is well placed to bring home a medal from Rio. With the experience of London 2012 plus a 2016 World Cup win under her belt, the 24 year old is excited to be representing Australia in the Games.

Cycling at the Olympics

Find out everything you've ever wanted to know about all the awesome Cycling events at the Olympics: