Classification is a crucial component of disabled-people’s sport. It aims at insuring equity between athletes, taking into considerations their degree of disability as well as each sport’s specifications before placing them into pre-established functional class. The process of classification is continuously revised and is supervised by each paralympic sport’s international federation.
Classification holds two very important roles; 1) it allows the athlete to participate in various events by recognizing such athlete’s eligibility to compete, and 2) it makes sure that athletes are grouped into the right sub-categories when competing against their peers.
This classification requires two steps :
Classification by cycling type
Classification by degree of disability.
Note : There’s no age-based classification in paracycling.
PAR TYPE DE VÉLO
There are four classes in paracycling which correspond to the bicycle used.
• C = Cycle (regular bike with or without adaptation)
• T = Tricycle
• B = Tandem (solely for visually impaired athletes)
• H = Hand bike
Tandem bikes are solely for visually impaired athletes, which are paired with a seeing driver.
Hand bikes are mainly used by wheelchair athletes.
Tricycles are made for brain injured athletes as well as those who require better stability.
Bicycles are used by lightly brain injured athletes or amputated athletes.
Note : Brain injured athletes will either use a bicycle or a tricycle depending on the functional class they are being placed in. Moreover, prosthetics can be helpful to some athletes having suffered an amputation or a congenital disability of the superior or inferior limbs.
CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO DISABILITY DEGREE
According to the degree of disability, athletes are placed in the following divisions:
• C1, C2, C3, C4, C5
• T1, T2
• B (one division)
• H1, H2, H3, H4, H5
The number 1 indicates the highest degree of severity of the disability. Men and women are classified seperately.
Four types of disabilities are accepted by the International Cycling Union (UCI) :
• Amputated people with a congenital disability of the superior or inferior limbs;
• Visually impaired people;
• People with a brain injury (cerebral palsy, stroke leading to cerebral injury, brain trauma);
• People with a motor disorder, in a wheelchair (either paraplegic, tetraplegic, etc.)