What is Road?

Road cycling is the immanent form of all cycling disciplines. It is not only the most-watched discipline of the cycling program in general, it has also made some impacts on the world of sports in general. As one of the inaugural sports of the modern Olympic Games, cycling has a long tradition in our modern world culture. As its name implies, a road race takes place on paved roadways. Several subcategories can be broken out in the sport of road cycling. It is the most popular sport in leisure as well as on the semi-professional and professional levels. Nowhere else are as many people involved as they are in road cycling.

Road Race

Road Races provide something for everyone, from leisurely rides along the lanes, headlong sprints, and mountainous climbs to endurance rides, while demanding great endurance, bike handling, tactical know-how and skills. While road cycling can begin at anyone’s front-door, Road Races mostly start in a mass start format, where the main group of riders (peloton) head towards the finish on a designated course or lap with a distance somewhere between 40km up to 300km. Road races can be held on a variety of different courses, as day races or multi-day stage races known as Grand Tours. The most popular road race is the Tour de France – a 21 stage tour held in France every year in the summer. The majority of traditional road racing events take place on open roads, with vehicular marshals marking the nose and the tail of the race. Typically, riders group on a neutralized part of the stage to allow the peloton to group up before the racing commences.


A Criterium is a mass start road race consisting of multiple laps on a short, 1 to 2 km circuit. Originating on the city streets of Europe, “crits” are exciting races to watch, as the riders are in almost constant view. From a rider’s perspective, these races place a premium on speed and nerve as tight corners demand bike-handling skill and rapid acceleration from the corner exits into the straights. High speeds become higher when the race organizers include “primes” or special sprints for prizes. These events can often finish in mass sprints of 50 riders or more.

Time Trial

In these events the individuals race against the clock, commonly over distances of 15 to 40 km. Known as the “race of truth”, the time trial demands the utmost stamina and concentration from riders, where discipline, conditioning and technique are the traits leading to a victory. Time trials also can be ideal introductions to competition for novice riders who are still learning the basics of group riding and may not be confident enough to participate in massed-start events. Efficient riding technique and good aerodynamics are essential and make time trials one of the most technically exacting of cycling events.

Ontario’s Anne Samplonius won the silver medal in the Senior Women’s ITT at the 1994 World Championships.

Hill Climbs

Point-to-point time trials in which the finish line is at a considerably higher altitude than the start line are commonly referred to as hill climbs. The steepest, toughest climbs in Ontario are sought out for these events, which pit the riders against both the clock and the hill.

Stage Races

Stage races incorporate elements of all of the types of races described above. Each event is known as a stage. Racing over a different distance day after day is only for the fittest of the fit. The winner with the lowest aggregate time is the winner. There is a winner for each stage, and of course an overall winner. A crafty, consistent rider may win a stage race without ever winning a stage.

How do you get involved?

With their feet on the pedals and their head in the clouds, cyclists in all parts of Ontario enjoy the freedom of feeling the fresh air on their skin. If this is the feeling you are seeking, you came to the right place. Our members are drawn from all areas and backgrounds, with riders from under five years of age up to forty plus. By becoming a member at Ontario Cycling (OC), you are joining the cycling community, and it will get you access to several activities and member benefits. Get your membership and license here. If you are new to the sport of road racing, please select the entry-level/novice category unless you have a previous race license with another cycling entity (proof required before the license will be issued).

Regional Sanctioned Events

Regional level events have the same categories as Ontario Cup (OCup) events. Events previously classified as citizen-level events now fall within the regional level of sanctioned events. Please confirm with the organizer as some categories may change due to the number of riders participating.

Ontario Cup

Ontario Cups are raced at the highest provincial level against riders of their age or ability group. The people and families involved are usually interested in bikes, competitive sports, and their children’s physical and mental health. Ontario Cups also pride themselves on offering equal opportunities to both sexes and top-class competitive sports to all members. It is common for the whole family to be involved. The family nature gives the race day far more depth and dimension than just a simple race – it is an Event with an outstanding atmosphere.

In Road Racing, several Ontario Cups are hosted and merged as the Ontario Cup Road Series. Throughout the races, points are awarded to all categories, except youth ability categories. The best rider will be honoured as a series champion at the end of the season.

Only riders who purchased their racing membership through Ontario Cycling are eligible for OCup points. Riders who upgrade during the season will not carry their accumulated points into their upgraded category. OCup points earned will remain in the class they were awarded within. DNF riders (riders who do not finish) are not entitled to OCup points.

Junior Gear Restrictions

Juniors racing at the Ontario Cups within combined categories (E1-4) will not be subject to rollout. Gear restrictions are still required at all other events including Provincials. At these races, they will all need to comply with the 7.93-meter gear restriction. Second-year Cadets with an upgrade to race with the Juniors will also be subject to the same restriction. If a junior rider has received an upgrade to compete in the Elite category, they will NOT be subject to rollout.