Cycling at the 1896 Summer Olympics – Men's 12 hour race

The men's 12 hour race was one of five track cycling events on the Cycling at the 1896 Summer Olympics programme. It was the final event of the 1896 Summer Olympics, ending at 5 p.m. on 13 April. Seven cyclists from four nations started.[1] The event was won by Adolf Schmal of Austria, the only gold medal in cycling ever won by the nation, until Anna Kiesenhofer's win in the 2020 Women's Road Race. Schmal lapped silver medalist Frederick Keeping of Great Britain early, winning by that lap as the two were the only riders to finish. The 12 hour race was the last event to finish at the 1896 Games.

Men's 12 hour race
at the Games of the I Olympiad
Meyer Albert - Olympic Games, 1896; cyclists beginning the twelve-hour race - Google Art Project.jpg
The start of the race
VenueNeo Phaliron Velodrome
DateApril 13
Competitors7 from 4 nations
Winning distance314.997 km
1st place, gold medalist(s) Adolf Schmal
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Frederick Keeping
 Great Britain


From 1896 to 1924 (excluding 1912, when no track events were held), the track cycling programme included events at a variety of distances that changed from Games to Games and ranged from the 14-mile to the 100 kilometres (and, even longer, the unique 12 hours race in 1896 that saw finishers nearly reach 300 kilometres). The 12 hours race was held only in 1896 and was the only time that an Olympic race was based on a set time rather than a fixed distance.[1]

Competition formatEdit

As the name suggests, the race was a 12-hour race with the cyclists trying to cover the greatest distance of the field. Pacemakers were allowed. All cyclists started together in a mass start.[1][2]


The day was cold, windy, and rainy, with snow on the mountains. The weather was bad enough to cancel the rowing events scheduled for the same day as the race.[1]

Date Time Round
Gregorian Julian
Monday, 13 April 1896 Monday, 1 April 1896 5:00 Final


The final cycling race began at 5 a.m. on 13 April. Seven athletes began the race, though four of them dropped out before noon and a fifth gave up in the afternoon. Schmal had lapped the rest of the cyclists early in the race and rode along with Keeping for the rest of the contest, winning by that one lap. The 12 hour race was never included again in the cycling program at the Olympic Games.[3]

Rank Cyclist Nation Distance
  Adolf Schmal   Austria 295.300 km
  Frederick Keeping   Great Britain 294.946 km
Georgios Paraskevopoulos   Greece DNF
Nikos Loverdos   Greece DNF (3 hours)
A. Tryfiatis-Tripiaris   Greece DNF (3 hours)
Joseph Welzenbacher   Germany DNF (3 hours)
Konstantinos Konstantinou   Greece DNF (3 hours)


  1. ^ a b c d "100 kilometres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  2. ^ Official Report, p. 109.
  3. ^ Wallechinsky, David (1984). The Complete Book of the Olympics. England: Penguin Books. p. 212. ISBN 0140066322.