cycling


cycling
/suy"kling/, n.
1. the act or sport of riding or traveling by bicycle, motorcycle, etc.
2. Also called bicycle race, bicycle racing. Sports. a race on lightweight bicycles with low handlebars, conducted for specified distances or against time on a dirt or board track or over public roads between cities.
[1935-40; CYCLE + -ING1]

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Use of the bicycle in competitive sport or in recreation.

The classic professional races are held mainly in Europe; the first was held in Paris in 1868. There are basically two types of race: road races and track races. The first U.S. cycling competition, a six-day race, was held in 1891. Six-day racing was reintroduced to Europe as a two-man team event in the 20th century, but it has largely died out in the U.S. The first Tour de France, the premier race, was held in 1903. Cycling has been part of the Olympics since the first modern games in 1896. Events include a variety of open-road and circuit races for both men and women.

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▪ 2009

      The drive to eliminate drugs from cycling continued to gain momentum in 2008, with encouraging success. The premier event on the road-race calendar, the Tour de France, produced seven positive tests, including six for continuous erythropoiesis receptor activator (CERA), a slow-release blood-boosting drug developed to help people with kidney problems or anemia. The manufacturers of CERA, an advanced version of erythropoietin (EPO), had worked closely with the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) over a four-year development period before the drug was marketed in January 2008. There were three racers who tested positive during the Tour, notably Italian rider Riccardo Ricco, the winner of two mountain stages. Postrace testing of frozen blood samples, using a newly developed test, later produced three more positives: from stage winners Leonardo Piepoli of Italy and Stefan Schumacher of Germany, as well as Austrian Bernard Kohl, who had finished third overall and won the competition for the best climber.

      The Tour de France, which began in Brest on July 5 and ended on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 27, was won by Carlos Sastre of Spain. Six different riders wore the leader's yellow jersey before Sastre took over at the end of the 17th stage. He reached Paris with a final margin of 58 seconds over Australian Cadel Evans after 21 stages and 3,559 km (2,210 mi) of racing. The Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) and Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España) were both won by Spanish rider Alberto Contador, who was unable to defend his 2007 Tour de France title after his new team was excluded for doping offenses committed at the 2007 race.

      Host Great Britain dominated the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) world track championships, held in Manchester in March, winning 9 of the 18 events. By taking gold in the individual sprint, Chris Hoy (Hoy, Christopher ) became the first rider to win all four men's world sprint-discipline titles, adding to previous victories in the keirin (which he retained in Manchester), 1-km time trial (known as the kilo), and team sprint. Marianne Vos of The Netherlands won the women's 20-km points race to make her the first person to win senior world cycling titles in road racing, mountain biking, and track racing.

      Hoy later secured three gold medals at the Olympic Games in Beijing, where Great Britain won 7 of the 10 track disciplines. Hoy, Jamie Staff, and Jason Kenny set an unofficial world record of 42.950 sec for the 750-m team sprint. The British 4,000-m pursuit quartet of Ed Clancy, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas, and Bradley Wiggins twice broke the world record, lowering it to 3 min 53.314 sec in the final. In addition, Britain's Nicole Cooke won both the world and Olympic women's road race titles.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2008
 Cycling endured another difficult year in 2007, with the Tour de France, the premier road event, shrouded in controversy as the struggle to eliminate drugs and doping from the sport continued. Overall victory in the three-week, 3,569.9-km (about 2,218-mi) race, which began in London on July 7 and finished in Paris on July 29, went to Alberto Contador, Spain's first winner since 1995. Contador inherited the lead when Danish rider Michael Rasmussen was dismissed by his team before the start of the 17th stage on July 26. It had emerged that Rasmussen, who took the leader's yellow jersey on July 15, had missed four out-of-competition drug tests. Aleksandr Vinokurov of Kazakhstan and Italy's Cristian Moreni both failed tests during the Tour and were excluded, along with their teams, while German rider Patrik Sinkewitz was removed from the race after positive results for testosterone from a test administered in early June were released.

      In September, American Floyd Landis lost his appeal to the American Arbitration Association against a two-year suspension imposed following his positive test for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, which he had won. He was stripped of the title, and Oscar Pereiro of Spain, who had held the yellow jersey for five days during the 2006 race before finishing in second place, was recognized as the official winner.

      The ProTour, a series of major road races run under the banner of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), also ended in controversy when leader Danilo Di Luca was removed from the overall standings before the final round, the Tour of Lombardy (Giro di Lombardia). Di Luca, winner of the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) earlier in the season, was suspended by the Italian Olympic Committee for his links with a doctor who had served a ban (1995–2000) for providing athletes with doping products.

      Italy's Paolo Bettini retained the elite title at the world road-race championships, held in September in Stuttgart, Ger. Local organizers had petitioned the court in an attempt to prevent Bettini from competing because he had refused to sign the UCI's antidoping pledge. Bettini objected to a clause under which riders given a standard two-year ban for any doping case would be fined a year's salary in addition to any stipulated fine.

      At the UCI world track championships in Palma, Majorca, Anna Meares of Australia set a new world record of 33.588 sec to win the women's 500-m time trial, improving her own mark set in November 2006 by 0.356 sec. Wong Kampo became Hong Kong's first world champion in cycling when he won the men's 15-km scratch race.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2007
  Doping in 2006 continued to cast a huge shadow over cycling, notably in the sport's premier road event, the Tour de France. Details of an investigation (code named Operación Puerto) by Spanish police into doping practices at the Madrid laboratory of Eufemiano Fuentes were released on the eve of the three-week event. The report implicated 58 cyclists, including former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich and 2005 runner-up Ivan Basso, who were among nine riders then withdrawn from the race by their teams.

      The Tour, the first since the retirement of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong of the U.S., started in Strasbourg on July 1 and finished on July 23 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It was the most closely contested for years, with the lead changing 10 times. The race was finally won by American Floyd Landis, who finished 57 seconds ahead of Spain's Oscar Pereiro on overall time. Landis subsequently tested positive for testosterone from a sample taken after the July 20 Alpine stage from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Morzine, in which he finished 5 minutes 42 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger just one day after he had trailed stage winner Michael Ramussen by more than 10 minutes and lost the race leader's yellow jersey to Pereiro. Landis regained the advantage for the third and final time two days after his success at Morzine, when he finished third in the 57-km individual time trial from Le Creusot to Montceau-les-Mines.

      Landis, who risked being stripped of his victory and suspended from competition, contested the test results, which showed a testosterone–epitestosterone ratio above the 4:1 limit set by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He claimed that the process followed by the testing laboratory in Paris was flawed. His case was due to go before the American Arbitration Association in 2007.

      Although Basso was banned from the Tour de France, he prevailed in the first of the three major national tours of the year, the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia). The Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España) was won by Kazakhstan rider Aleksandr Vinokurov, who was not implicated by Operación Puerto but had been unable to contest the Tour de France on a technicality after five members of his nine-man team were withdrawn.

      The track world championships were held in Bordeaux, France, in April. Theo Bos of The Netherlands won titles in the men's sprint and keirin, a motor-paced event of Japanese origin. Belarusian rider Natalya Tsylinskaya won both the women's sprint and the 500-m time trial.

      Dutch rider Marianne Vos achieved an unusual world championship double, winning the women's cyclo-cross title in Zeddam, Neth., in January and then the individual road race in Salzburg, Austria, in September.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2006
 American Lance Armstrong extended his record sequence of wins in the Tour de France, cycling's premier road event, to seven with his triumph in the 2005 race, which began on July 2 in Fromentine, on the Atlantic coast, and finished on July 24 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Armstrong, who announced in April that he would retire at the end of the Tour, was again the dominant rider in the high mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees before sealing victory with his only individual stage win of the race in the 55.5-km (1 km = about 0.62 mi) St. Étienne time trial on the penultimate day. After 3,608 km of racing, he finished 4 min 40 sec ahead of his nearest challenger, Ivan Basso of Italy. Thor Hushovd became the first rider from Norway to win one of the subsidiary competitions, the green jersey for the most consistent daily finisher.

      In September, Spaniard Roberto Heras won the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España) for a record fourth time. Cycling's other major national tour, the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) in May, was won by Paolo Savoldelli of Italy, the 2002 victor. The inaugural ProTour, introduced by cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), as an expanded replacement for the World Cup, ran through the road-race season from March to October. The overall winner on points was Italy's Danilo Di Luca.

      At the UCI world track championships, held in Los Angeles in March, Great Britain, with four gold medals, was the leading nation. Women's keirin winner Clara Sanchez of France was the only 2004 champion to successfully defend a title.

      In July unheralded Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka broke the UCI's world one-hour record for rides on conventional bicycles without technological and aerodynamic aids. Sosenka covered 49.7 km in one hour at the Krylatskoye Olympic Velodrome in Moscow, beating by 259 m (about 850 ft) the record set in 2000 by Britain's Chris Boardman.

      Cycling's fight to eliminate drugs and doping from the sport continued. The French sports daily L'Équipe claimed in August that Armstrong had taken the banned human hormone erythropoietin (EPO) during his first Tour de France win in 1999. The newspaper published leaked laboratory results of tests carried out on urine samples taken during that race and subsequently frozen. The urine test for EPO was introduced by the UCI in 2001, and the leftover 1999 samples were being analyzed to improve testing techniques. Armstrong denied the allegation, and no action was taken by the UCI. American Tyler Hamilton, a gold medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games, was banned for two years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for blood doping at the 2004 Tour of Spain. Hamilton's appeal to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport was heard in September 2005, but there was no immediate decision.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2005

      In 2004 American Lance Armstrong became the first person to have won cycling's premier road event, the Tour de France, six times with his victory in the three-week race, which began in Liège, Belg., on July 3 and finished on July 25 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Armstrong, who achieved his wins in successive years, dominated the 3,395-km (1 km = about 0.62 mi) race to finish 6 min 19 sec ahead of Germany's Andreas Klöden. The race was decided in the high mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps, where Armstrong won four of the five stages before sealing overall victory by winning the 55-km individual time trial at Besançon, France, on the penultimate day. Richard Virenque of France won the “king of the mountains” competition as the best climber for a record seventh time.

      Italy's Alessandro Petacchi used his powerful sprint finish to win a record nine stages in the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia), which was won by his compatriot Damiano Cunego. Italian rider Paolo Bettini, who captured the road-race title at the Olympic Games in Athens, won the World Cup series for a record third time, and Spaniard Roberto Heras won a record-tying third Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España).

      Three world records were set in track racing at the Olympics. Australia improved its own record for the 4,000-m men's team pursuit to 3 min 56.610 sec in the first round, going on to win the gold medal; Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand won the women's 3,000-m pursuit in a record 3 min 24.537 sec; and Anna Meares of Australia lowered the record for the women's 500-m time trial to 33.952 sec. At the world track championships in Melbourne, Australia, Yoanka González Pérez won Cuba's first world title, in the women's 10-km scratch race.

      The question of drugs and doping continued to cast a shadow over the sport with police investigations carried out in a number of countries. Implicated in an inquiry into the French team Cofidis, David Millar of Great Britain admitted to having used the human growth hormone erythropoietin (EPO) in 2001 and 2003 and was banned for two years and stripped of the 2003 world individual time-trial title. The 1996 world road-race champion, Johan Museeuw, was banned for two years by Belgium's cycling authority for breaking doping regulations, and American Tyler Hamilton, who won the Olympic individual time trial, tested positive for an illegal blood transfusion during the Tour of Spain, but he was contesting the testing procedure.

      Italy's Marco Pantani, the winner of the Tour de France and the Tour of Italy in 1998, was found dead on February 14. (SeeeObituaries (Pantani, Marco ).)

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2004

      Cycling's premier road event, the Tour de France, celebrated its centenary in 2003 and was won for a record-equaling fifth time by American Lance Armstrong, who also joined Miguel Indurain to become one of only two persons to have won in five consecutive years. Armstrong matched the five victories of Jacques Anquetil (1957, 1961–64), Eddy Merckx (1969–72, 1974), Bernard Hinault (1978–79, 1981–82, 1985), and Indurain (1991–95) when he reached the finish line in Paris 1 min 01 sec ahead of Germany's Jan Ullrich on overall time after three weeks and 3,427.5 km (about 2,130 mi) of racing. Joseba Beloki of Spain had crashed in stage nine and was forced to retire while in second place overall, 40 sec behind, and Ullrich had beaten Armstrong by 1 min 36 sec in the 47-km (29-mi) individual time trial from Gaillac to Cap'Découverte (stage 12) to close to within 34 sec. Armstrong had held the lead from the 8th of the 20 stages, but his overall victory was assured only on the penultimate day when Ullrich crashed on wet roads in the final time trial.

      Mario Cipollini of Italy claimed two stages of the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) to take his career total to 42, beating Alfredo Binda's record of 41, which had stood since 1933. His countryman Gilberto Simoni was the overall winner. Another Italian sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, secured six stage wins in Italy, four stages in the Tour de France before retiring in the mountains, and five stages of the third major national tour, the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España), which was won by Spaniard Roberto Heras.

      Italy's Paolo Bettini was the overall winner of the World Cup series, decided over 10 road races between March and October, and set a record for the competition with victory in three rounds. The death of Kazakh rider Andrei Kivilev, who suffered fatal head injuries when he crashed on the second stage of the Paris–Nice road race in March, prompted the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), to make the wearing of hard helmets compulsory in all elite events. Kivilev was not wearing a helmet when he fell.

      The UCI world track championships were moved from Shenzen, China, to Stuttgart, Ger., because of concerns over the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in China. Australia broke its own world record by more than two seconds with a time of 3 min 57.280 sec in the final of the 4,000-m team pursuit. Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of The Netherlands won the individual pursuit for her ninth world championship title. In October she set a women's one-hour world record of 46.065 km (about 28.62 mi).

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2003

      In 2002 cycling's premier road event, the Tour de France, was won by American Lance Armstrong, who became the fourth rider to win the race in four successive years since it was first held in 1903. Armstrong joined Jacques Anquetil (1961–64), Eddy Merckx (1969–72), and Miguel Indurain (1991–95) when he finished 7 min 17 sec clear of his nearest challenger, Joseba Beloki of Spain, in the 3,277.5-km (1 km = about 0.62 mi) race, which began in Luxembourg and finished three weeks later on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Armstrong won the opening prologue time trial but suffered his first defeat in a place-to-place individual time-trial stage in four years when Colombian Santiago Botero beat him by 11 seconds in the 52-km leg between Lanester and Lorient. Armstrong later won the 50-km time trial to Mâcon after wins on successive days in the first major mountain stages of the race had given him a clear overall lead. Botero went on to secure Colombia's first world road title when he won the individual time trial at the road world championships in Zolder, Belg., in October.

      Doping again affected the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia). Stefano Garzelli of Italy tested positive for probenecid (a diuretic used as a masking agent to hide traces of steroids in urine) after he won the second stage on May 13; he was later disqualified and suspended for two years after a second analysis of his sample gave the same result. The morning after Garzelli left the race, 2001 winner Gilberto Simoni of Italy was revealed to have registered a positive result for cocaine in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) test on April 24; he was also disqualified and suspended. Another favourite, Italian Francesco Casagrande, was disqualified for dangerous riding. The race was won by Italy's Paolo Savoldelli, who took the lead in the final week through his performances in the Dolomites. Mario Cipollini of Italy won six stages to equal Alfredo Binda's overall record of 41. German rider Jan Ullrich, the winner of the 1997 Tour de France and a former world and Olympic champion, missed the entire road season with a knee injury and was handed a six-month suspension for amphetamine use following a random out-of-competition test by the WADA.

      Australia set a new world record of 3 min 59.583 sec for the men's 4,000-m team pursuit when it won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Eng. Na Li became the first Chinese woman to win a world track title with her victory in the keirin at the world track championships held in Copenhagen in September.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2002

      In 2001 American rider Lance Armstrong sealed his place in cycling history when he became the fifth man to win the Tour de France, the sport's premier event, in at least three successive years, joining Louison Bobet (1953–55), Jacques Anquetil (1961–64), Eddy Merckx (1969–72), and Miguel Indurain (1991–95). The Texan finished 6 min 44 sec ahead of Germany's Jan Ullrich after 3,454 km (about 2,146 mi) of racing, establishing his superiority with a commanding display of strength on the mountain stages. Armstrong won successive road-race and time-trial legs in the Alps before taking the overall lead for the first time three days later in the Pyrenees. A fourth win followed in the last time-trial stage, two days before the event finished in Paris. Erik Zabel of Germany won the points competition, based on daily finishing positions over the 20 stages and intermediate sprints, for a record sixth time.

      The sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), in April introduced a new “health check” testing procedure in the quest to eradicate the use of the human hormone erythropoietin (EPO). The UCI required any rider whose blood test showed a hematocrit level—the functional level of red blood cells as a percentage of total blood plasma—above the considered-safe level of 50% to submit to a urine test. Italy's Fabiano Fontanelli was the first rider to be excluded from a race, the Tour of Flanders on April 8, for an overly high hematocrit reading and to then take a urine test, which did not reveal any trace of EPO.

      At the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia), second in importance to the Tour de France, police and customs officials mounted raids on hotels where riders were staying after the June 6 stage in San Remo. The riders refused to race the following day, in protest against their treatment, which led to the cancellation of stage 18 between Imperia and San Anna di Vinadio. Italy's Dario Frigo, who was in second place overall, was dismissed by his team and left the race after doping products were found in his room. After an analysis of substances taken away in the raid, 86 people, including doctors and team managers, were later placed under investigation.

      The world track championships were held at the indoor Sportpaleis velodrome in Antwerp, Belg., in September. Arnaud Tournant of France won the individual kilometre time trial for the fourth successive year and gained gold medals in the individual sprint and three-man-team Olympic sprint. Nancy Contreras Reyes won Mexico's first-ever senior world title, in the women's 500-m time trial. In October Tournant became the first rider to beat one minute for a standing-start kilometre, covering the distance in 58.875 sec with an average speed of 61.146 km/h (about 38 mph) on the La Paz, Bol., track, which had an altitude of 3,417 m (11,211 ft).

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2001

      On the recommendation of its management committee, which introduced design restrictions on bicycles in 1996, the Union Cycliste Internationale decided as of Oct. 1, 2000, to return the world one-hour record to Belgian rider Eddy Merckx, who had covered 49.431 km (1 km = 0.62 mi) in Mexico in 1972 on a bicycle of standard design. Merckx's record had stood until 1984, when it was broken by Francesco Moser of Italy using aerodynamic disc wheels. British cyclist Chris Boardman's distance of 56.375 km, set in 1996 using the subsequently banned extended-arm “Superman” riding position, was reclassified as a world's best hour performance. Boardman reclaimed the one-hour record, however, on October 27 at the 2000 world track championships in Manchester, Eng., when he covered a distance of 49.441 km riding an officially approved, conventional-frame bicycle.

      New tests aimed at detecting the use of the human hormone erythropoietin (EPO) were developed in France and Australia. Plans to use the French test on urine samples at the Tour de France, the premier event on the international calendar, were shelved after consultation with legal and medical experts, but it was decided to freeze all samples taken in daily tests and retest them for EPO at a later date. Three riders were expelled from the Tour before the start when health checks revealed hematocrit levels—the functional level of red blood cells as a percentage of total blood plasma—above 50%, the level at which it was considered safe to race. The International Olympic Committee adopted both the French test and an Australian-developed blood test for the Olympic Games in Sydney in September.

      The Tour de France was won by Lance Armstrong for the second successive year. The American rider finished 6 min 2 sec ahead of Germany's Jan Ullrich after 21 stages and 3,662 km of racing. Armstrong took the overall lead on stage 10, the first mountain stage (in the Pyrenees). He lost time to his major rivals in the final Alpine stage but sealed his overall victory by winning the 19th stage, a 58.5-km time trial. Armstrong was clearly the strongest rider in the field and silenced critics who said that the absence in 1999 of Ullrich (the 1997 winner) and Marco Pantani (the 1998 winner), both of whom were present this time, had detracted from his first victory.

      Two world track records were broken at the Olympic Games. Germany produced the first sub-four minute ride in the four-man 4,000- m team pursuit, beating Ukraine in the final in 3 min 59.71 sec. Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of The Netherlands set a new record of 3 min 30.816 sec in the women's 3,000-m pursuit, winning the gold medal at that distance and later adding the road-time-trial and road-race titles.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 2000

      The question of doping again dominated cycling in 1999 as the struggle to eliminate the use of the human growth hormone erythropoietin (EPO) and steroids continued. The sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, extended its program of testing hematocrit levels in riders during competition, measuring the functional level of red blood cells—which increase with the use of EPO—as a percentage of total blood plasma. Riders showing a reading above 50% were considered unfit to race, suspended for 15 days, and required to take another test before being allowed to compete again.

      A number of cases emerged during the year, the most significant concerning Italian rider Marco Pantani—winner of both the Tour de France and the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) in 1998—who gave a reading of 52% before the penultimate stage of the Tour of Italy on June 5 when leading the race by more than five minutes. Pantani was expelled from the race, which was won by his compatriot Ivan Gotti.

      The Tour de France (the premier event on the international calendar), which had been marred 12 months earlier by a series of police raids and arrests, began on July 3 amid a general air of apprehension. Referred to as the “Tour of Redemption” by the organizers, the three-week race passed without scandal and was lifted by the remarkable performance of American rider Lance Armstrong, who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996. (See Biographies (Armstrong, Lance ).)

      Armstrong won the opening time trial at Le Puy du Fou and, after surrendering the overall lead to Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu on the first road stage, regained it six days later with a clear win in the individual time trial at Metz. Armstrong underlined his superiority by then winning the first Alpine stage, from Le Grand-Bornand to Sestrières. A fourth success in the Futuroscope time trial left him 7 min 27 sec clear of second-paced Alex Zülle of Switzerland when Armstrong finished the race in Paris with a record average speed of 40.273 km/hr (about 25 mph). A disbelieving media cast doubt on the legitimacy of Armstrong's performance as the race evolved, but he showed immense dignity throughout to receive rightful tribute eventually as the best rider in the field.

      Jan Ullrich of Germany, winner of the 1997 Tour de France, missed the event because of injury but returned to win the third of the three major national tours, the Tour of Spain, in September.

      The world road race championships were held in Italy in October. The elite men's road race was won by the relatively unknown Spanish rider Oscar Freire Gómez, who had only one previous victory to his credit as a professional. Two weeks later, at the world track championships in Berlin, Felicia Ballanger of France won her fifth consecutive double with victories in the sprint and time trial.

John R. Wilkinson

▪ 1999

      The struggle to control doping—in particular the widespread use of the human growth hormone erythropoietin (EPO)—dominated cycling in 1998. The issue came to a head during the Tour de France, the premier event on the cycling calendar, after quantities of EPO, which stimulates the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells, and testosterone-based steroids were found in a Festina team car searched by customs officers on the French-Belgian border. The Festina team was subsequently expelled from the Tour, as the race continued against a backdrop of police raids, arrests, official questioning, and the discovery of other prohibited substances, including corticosteroids and masking agents. The police action led to the withdrawal of six other teams from the race, a two-hour riders' strike at the start of stage 12, and a slowdown on the 17th stage to Aix-les-Bains.

      On July 23 seven of the nine Festina riders admitted to taking drugs administered by team doctors—with or without their knowledge. Swiss rider Alex Zülle, a two-time winner of the Tour of Spain, told police he had used EPO for four years under supervision. The sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, was criticized for what many considered its failure to take decisive action as the extent of drug abuse became known and for its apparent reluctance to impose sanctions.

      The doping scandal overshadowed an outstanding victory by Italian rider Marco Pantani, who became the seventh rider to win the Tour de France and Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) in the same year. Pantani finished 181st in the prologue time trial, raced in Ireland, where the Tour was based for the first three days, but he dominated in the mountains, winning stages in both the Pyrenees and Alps. He took the overall lead on the 15th of the 21 stages and had an advantage of 3 min 21 sec over 1997 winner Jan Ullrich of Germany when the race finished in Paris on August 2.

      The world track championships were held in Bordeaux, France, in August. The host nation repeated its 1997 total of six gold medals in 12 events, accounted for two new world records, and surpassed its own world mark in the three-man Olympic sprint (44.338 sec over a distance of 750 m [2,460 ft]). Felicia Ballanger of France topped her own record (set at high altitude in 1995), with a time of 34.010 sec to win the women's 500-m time trial for the fourth successive year. In the team pursuit competition Ukraine won its first world title.

      The world road championships took place at Valkenburg, Neth., in October. Oscar Camenzind gave Switzerland its first title in the elite (called professional until 1996) men's road race championship since 1951. For the second consecutive year, Michele Bartoli of Italy won the World Cup series, decided over 10 one-day road races.

JOHN R. WILKINSON

▪ 1998

      In 1997 cycling's world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), introduced random blood testing in an attempt to curtail the use of erythropoietin (EPO), the hormone that stimulates the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells. A safe level of hematocrit (the amount of red cells in the blood) was set at 50% (55% for riders from high-altitude countries), and any rider found to exceed the limit was eliminated from the event. Riders who tested above the agreed-upon level were not allowed to compete again until a further test had determined that the level had dropped to within the accepted parameters.

      The UCI also continued to study limitations on bicycle design and confirmed a restriction on handlebar extension to eliminate finally the extended-arm position that had helped cyclists establish a number of world records in track racing in 1996. The UCI indicated that further limitations on frame design and wheel dimensions would be phased in over the next two years.

      The Tour de France, held in July, was won by the German rider Jan Ullrich, who, at 23 years 7 months, was the youngest champion since Laurent Fignon triumphed in 1983 at age 22. Ullrich, who had finished second in 1996, took the lead after the 10th of the 21 stages and held on to win by 9 min 9 sec over Richard Virenque of France (who for the fourth year won the competition for the best mountain climber). It was the greatest winning margin since 1984.

      Djamolidin Abdoujaparov of Uzbekistan was disqualified from the Tour after testing positive for the stimulant bromantan and the anabolic steroid clenbuterol following the second stage of the three-week race. Abdoujaparov had won nine stages of the Tour over the years and had won the points competition on three occasions.

      The world track championships were held in Perth, Australia, in August. France dominated the competition, winning six gold medals and setting a world record of 44.926 sec in the three-man Olympic sprint over 750 m (2,460 ft). Felicia Ballanger won both the women's sprint and the 500-m time trial for the third successive year. Jean-Pierre Van Zyl became the first South African cyclist to win a world championship medal since his country's return to international competition when he finished second in the keirin.

      The world road championships took place in San Sebastián, Spain, in October. Laurent Brochard was an unexpected winner of the men's road race for France, which also won the individual time trial with Laurent Jalabert, the top-ranked road racer in the world on rating points gained for performances throughout the year.

JOHN R. WILKINSON

▪ 1997

      Changes in bicycle design and equipment led to cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), taking action to restore the emphasis to the performance of the rider. Meeting on the eve of the 1996 world road championships in Lugano, Switz., the management committee of the UCI ruled that from Jan. 1, 1997, handlebars could not extend more than 15 cm (5.9 in) beyond the hub of the front wheel, and the distance from the bottom bracket on the bicycle frame to the front hub should not exceed 75 cm (29.5 in).

      The move effectively outlawed the extended straight-arm position introduced in 1995 by British rider Graeme Obree and used widely in track racing during 1996 to establish world records in the men's individual and team pursuits, women's individual pursuit, and men's one-hour race. Expressing a wish to protect the aesthetic image of cycling by halting developments that put technology and machines above riders, the UCI stated that further measures were anticipated for 1997 to achieve the ultimate aims of reducing technical emphasis to a minimum and restoring the universal nature of the sport by keeping costs within the reach of all nations.

      The aerodynamic value of the extended-arm style, dubbed the "Superman position," helped Italian riders Andrea Collinelli and Antonella Bellutti win Olympic pursuit titles in Atlanta, Ga.

      During the world track championships in Manchester, Eng., the British rider Chris Boardman adopted the extended straight-arm position to break the men's 4,000-m-pursuit record by more than eight seconds for a time of 4 min 11.114 sec. Also using the straight-arm position, Italy set a world record of 4 min 0.958 sec for the 4,000-m men's team pursuit, and the world record for the women's 3,000-m pursuit was lowered four times until it finally was established by Marion Clignet of France at 3 min 30.974 sec. Boardman returned to the Manchester track five days after the championships and covered a world-record distance of 56.357 km (1 km = 0.62 mi) in one hour, breaking the 1994 mark of 55.291 km set by Tony Rominger.

      The highlight of the world road championships at Lugano was the contest in the men's road race. In a two-man battle over the 252-km (157-mi) course, Johan Museeuw of Belgium defeated Switzerland's Mauro Gianetti by one second.

      As a result of the move to open competition, professionals were admitted to the Olympic Games for the first time. Also, a full world championship program was held in 1996, as opposed to previous Olympiad years, when only non-Olympic disciplines were contested.

      Cycling's premier road event, the Tour de France, was won by Bjarne Riis, the first Dane to win the three-week, 3,764-km event. Miguel Indurain of Spain was unsuccessful in his bid to score an unprecedented sixth successive tour victory, finishing in 11th place more than 14 minutes behind Riis. Riis took the overall lead after winning the ninth stage to Sestriere, Italy, which was reduced from 189.5 km to 46 km because of snow at the start at Val-d'Isère and on the Col du Galibier climb.

      (JOHN R. WILKINSON)

▪ 1996

      Miguel Indurain of Spain again dominated the professional cycling season in 1995, winning the Tour de France, the premier international event, for a record fifth successive year and later taking his first world title. Indurain showed his mastery against the clock by winning the eighth stage of the tour, an individual time trial of 54 km (1 km = 0.62 mi) between Huy and Seraing, Belgium, to take the overall lead, which he held for the next 14 days until the finish in Paris. Also winning the 46.5-km time trial at Lac de Vassiviere, France, Indurain finished with a victory margin of 4 min 35 sec over runner-up Alex Zülle of Switzerland after 21 stages and a total distance of 3,635 km. Indurain joined Jacques Anquetil (1957, 1961-64), Eddy Merckx (1969-72, 1974), and Bernard Hinault (1978-79, 1981-82, 1985) as the only riders to have won the tour on five occasions.

      The race was marred by the death of Italian rider Fabio Casartelli following a crash on the 206-km stage between Saint-Girons and Cauterets, France, on July 18. Casartelli, the 1992 Olympic Games road-race champion, fell at high speed on the descent from the Col de Portet d'Aspet in the Pyrenees and died in Tarbes, France, from head injuries. As a mark of respect, the field rode the next day's stage together, without racing.

      Tony Rominger of Switzerland won the Tour of Italy for the first time. The Tour of Spain, moved from its traditional date in May to September, was won by Laurent Jalabert of France, who ended the season as the world's top-ranked rider on the basis of points earned in each race.

      The world road and track championships were held at high altitude in Colombia. Four world records fell in the track program on a new 333-m (1,092-ft) concrete track at the Luis Carlos Galan velodrome in Bogotá. Curtis Harnett of Canada became the first rider to break 10 seconds for 200 m with his time of 9.865, a speed of 72.985 km/h, in the qualifying round of the men's sprint. Harnett lost in the final to Darryn Hill of Australia. Other world records were set by Shane Kelly (1-km time trial, 1 min 0.613 sec), Felicia Ballanger (women's 500-m time trial, 34.017 sec), and Rebecca Twigg (women's 3,000-m pursuit, 3 min 36.081 sec). Twigg won the title 14 days after breaking her collarbone in a crash and rode with seven steel pins in her shoulder.

      The professional road race at Duitama, Colombia, was won by Abraham Olano of Spain, his country's first champion since the series began in 1927. Indurain finished second after having taken the individual time trial title four days earlier. French rider Jeannie Longo won both the women's time trial and road race, her 9th and 10th world titles. (JOHN R. WILKINSON)

▪ 1995

      A season that began on a low note ended in triumph for Miguel Indurain, who confirmed his position as the world's leading professional by winning the Tour de France, the premier event on the international calendar, for the fourth successive year and then capturing the world record for distance covered in one hour, 53.040 km, on the indoor track at Bordeaux, France. Injured in the early part of the season, the Spaniard failed in his attempt to win the Tour of Italy for the third year when he was beaten by Yevgeny Berzin of Russia, the first rider from Eastern Europe to win one of the sport's three major national tours.

      The Tour de France began three weeks later in Lille, and Indurain took the overall lead after winning the ninth stage, a 64-km individual time trial from Périgueux to Bergerac. When the race ended in Paris after three weeks and 3,978 km, Indurain was 5 min 39 sec ahead of Piotr Ugrumov of Latvia and thus joined Jacques Anquetil (1961-64) and Eddy Merckx (1969-72) as the only riders to win the tour four years in a row. Three-time winner Greg LeMond, probably the finest cyclist the U.S. had produced, had to drop out of the Tour de France and, in early December, announced his retirement from professional cycle racing. Tony Rominger of Switzerland won the third major event, the Tour of Spain, for the third straight year.

      The world championships were held in Sicily, Italy. Marty Nothstein of the U.S., who had broken a bone in his foot only two months earlier, was a double gold medalist on the track in Palermo, winning the sprint—the first U.S. success in the men's event since 1912—and keirin.

      Graeme Obree of the U.K., the defending champion in the men's individual pursuit, was disqualified from the event when his tucked riding style, similar to the position of a downhill skier, was declared illegal under a ruling introduced by the governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), on the morning of the competition. He was succeeded as champion by fellow Briton Christopher Boardman, who also won the inaugural road time trial championship in Catania.

      U.S.-born Marion Clignet, riding for France, won the women's pursuit, while Galina Yenyukhina of Russia, suspended for three months after testing positive for anabolic steroids at the 1993 championships, won the women's sprint. In the team pursuit the U.S. defeated defending champion Australia in the semifinals before losing to Germany, the 1992 Olympic champion.

      Luc Leblanc gave France its first win since 1980 in the professional road race championship held at Agrigento. Alex Pedersen of Denmark became the first reinstated amateur to win the road race title, at Capo d'Orlando, where Monica Valvik gave Norway its first title in 21 years by winning the women's road race. (JOHN R. WILKINSON)

▪ 1994

      Cycling's most prized record, for distance covered in one hour, was broken twice in seven days in 1993 by riders from Britain. On July 17 Graeme Obree of Scotland covered 51.596 km at the Olympic Hall velodrome in Hamar, Norway, to beat the record of 51.151 km set in 1984 by Francesco Moser of Italy. Six days later, on July 23, England's Christopher Boardman, the Olympic pursuit champion, set a new mark in Bordeaux, France, with a distance of 52.270 km. No cyclist from Britain had held the record since it was first recognized in 1893.

      Obree's ride came less than 24 hours after his unsuccessful attempt to break the record on the same track; he covered 50.69 km. He achieved the record on a self-built bicycle that included parts from a domestic washing machine and a handlebar section from a child's bike. He returned to the Hamar track in August to win the world 4,000-m pursuit title. The world record for this event fell three times in two days. Philippe Ermenault of France beat his own mark, set at Bordeaux in July, with a time of 4 min 23.283 sec in the first round. Obree clocked 4 min 22.668 sec in the semifinals before beating Ermenault in the final in 4 min 20.894 sec.

      The Hamar tournament marked the first time that professionals and amateurs raced against each other in an open world track program. Two other world records fell in this competition, to Rebecca Twigg of the U.S., who won her fifth women's 3,000-m pursuit title in 3 min 37.347 sec, and to Australia, which defeated Olympic champion Germany in the final to win the team pursuit for the first time in 4 min 3.840 sec. Tanya Dubnicoff won Canada's first women's sprint title, and Denmark claimed its first motor-paced victory through Jens Veggerby. Gary Neiwand of Australia won both the men's sprint and keirin championships.

      The road race championships were contested in Oslo, Norway. The professional title was won by Lance Armstrong of the U.S. He defeated Spain's Miguel Indurain, who had earlier finished first in both the national tour of Italy, for the second year, and of France, for the third successive year. Indurain won the opening time-trial stage of the three-week Tour de France, the major event on the professional calendar, at Le Puy-du-Fou. He lost the lead two days later but, after the lead had changed hands four times during the next six days, he regained the yellow jersey by winning the 59-km time trial around Lac de Madine in northern France. He then went on to finish the race 4 min 59 sec ahead of overall runner-up Tony Rominger of Switzerland. Third place went to Zenon Jaskula, who became the first rider from Poland to win a stage. (JOHN R. WILKINSON)

* * *

sport
Introduction

      use of a bicycle for sport, recreation, or transportation. The sport of cycling consists of professional and amateur races, which are held mostly in Continental Europe, the United States, and Asia. The recreational use of the bicycle is widespread in Europe and the United States. Use of the bicycle as a mode of transportation is particularly important in non-Western nations and in flatter countries, some of which, like The Netherlands, have a widespread system of bicycle paths.

Early history of the sport
      Cycling as a sport officially began on May 31, 1868, with a 1,200-metre (1,312-yard) race between the fountains and the entrance of Saint-Cloud Park (near Paris). The winner was James Moore, an 18-year-old expatriate Englishman from Paris. On November 7, 1869, the first city-to-city race was held between Paris and Rouen; again Moore was the winner, covering the 135 km (84 miles) in 10 hours 25 minutes, including time spent walking his bicycle up the steeper hills. While road racing (road race) became common within a few years in Europe, in England the deteriorated conditions of the roads made them unsuitable, and therefore the sport there focused on the track or time trials.

      In the United States the first recorded race was held on May 24, 1878, in Boston, two years after the start of professional baseball and 13 years before basketball was invented. Almost all of the early American racing was on tracks, in long races sometimes employing pacers who rode ahead of contestants at a fast speed and then dropped away. By the 1890s there were about 100 dirt, cement, or wooden tracks around the country, mainly in big cities. More than 600 professionals traveled on this national circuit, which ranged from Boston to San Francisco, with competitions in such cities as St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Los Angeles. The sport received an enormous publicity boost on June 30, 1899, when one of these riders, Charles M. Murphy, rode on a wooden track behind a Long Island Rail Road train and covered a mile in 57.8 seconds, earning the nickname of Mile-a-Minute Murphy.

      A particularly grueling form of racing flourished in the United States in the 1890s: the six-day race, 142 hours (since the races usually started at midnight and ended, six days later, at 10 PM) of nonstop competition with prizes up to $10,000 and an international field of riders. This form of racing was transformed with the change from one-man teams to two-man teams in 1899, and six-day races retained their popularity well into the 1930s. While no longer held in the United States, these races continue to attract large crowds in Belgium, Italy, France, and Germany.

Modern sport racing
 The development of racing as a popular sport in Europe began in the 1890s with the improvement in road conditions and the introduction of some of the one-day classics that continue to this day (for example, the Paris-Roubaix race). After France and Belgium, races were introduced in Italy, Spain, and The Netherlands. In 1903 the 21-day-long Tour de France was inaugurated and has continued every year since except during World Wars I and II. Ranking just behind this premier race are the grand three-week tours of Italy (the Giro d'Italia) and Spain (the Vuelta a España). Usually, the Giro is held in May and June, the Tour de France in July, the Vuelta in September, and the World Championships in October. Prizes in these races are substantial, amounting to $2.5 million in the Tour de France alone.

      European road racing was under the sponsorship of bicycle manufacturers until the late 1920s, when national and regional teams were introduced. Trade sponsors returned after World War II but with the waning of bicycle manufacturers, teams began turning to various sponsors, including automobile manufacturers, insurance companies, and banks. The professional road-racing season now begins in January with races in Australia and Malaysia, continues from February through October in Europe and the United States, and closes, again in Asia, in November and December. For most riders, the season includes about 120 days of competition spread over eight months.

      With the waning of six-day races during the Depression in the United States, American interest in cycling began to fade until the 1980s. In 1984, U.S. riders dominated the Olympic Games in Los Angeles and in 1986 Greg LeMond (LeMond, Greg) won the first of his three Tours de France, rekindling American interest. In England, racing declined in popularity after the turn of the century with the advent of the automobile; despite the occasional Briton who makes a career as a professional on the Continent and a sporadic series of races, such as the Milk Race and the Prutour, both now defunct, the sport remains marginal. Hindering the growth of the sport in England is the public clamour that arises whenever a road is closed for a bicycle race. In Asia and Australia, however, there is no such resistance, and the roads are usually lined with spectators for such races as the Tour Down Under in Australia, the Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia, and the Japan Cup. These races attract many professional teams from Europe and the United States. Many other Asian countries have races also, mainly for amateur teams from the region.

      Road and track races for men were held at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896; women entered Olympic competition in road races in 1984 and track races in 1988. Mountain biking, a cross-country race over rough terrain, became an Olympic event for men and women at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. The Atlanta Games also marked the first Olympics at which professionals were allowed to enter in the road race and time trial competitions.

Competition
      The sport is governed overall by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which is based in Switzerland, and by each country's cycling federation. Amateur races are held for both men and women in local, regional, and national competition by age group, ranging upward in age from competitors 12 to 13 years old. In the World Championships, amateurs are no longer differentiated from professionals among men, but the sport is divided into those under 23, called espoirs (hopefuls), and those over that age. Categories of competition during the season include time trials (time trial), which can be an individual or team event; one-day, or classic, races in which distances can vary between 200 and 280 km (124 to 175 miles) for professionals and 140 to 200 km (87 to 124 miles) for amateurs; and multiday, or stage, races, basically a series of classic races run on successive days. The winner of a stage race is the rider with lowest aggregate time for all stages. Also popular, especially in Britain and the United States, are criterium races, which are run over a relatively short distance of 4 to 5 km (2.5 to 3 miles) for a succession of laps totaling up to 100 km (62 miles).

      Track racing events include the sprint, the pursuit (pursuit racing), the one-km time trial, the points race, and the keirin, or motor-paced race. Keirin is especially popular in Japan because betting on the outcome is legal there, much like a horse or dog race. Some European track stars ride on the keirin circuit in Japan, both for the experience and for the salary. cyclo-cross, or cross-country racing, established in the mid-1920s, covers rough terrain that may require racers to dismount and walk or run with their bicycles. Mountain biking, over rough terrain, but usually downhill rather than on the flat, is increasingly popular. One difference between cyclo-cross and mountain-bike racing is that cyclo-cross riders are allowed to ride up to three bicycles during a race, whereas in mountain-bike competition the cyclist must carry all the tools necessary to fix the bicycle, as only one bicycle may be used during a race. One other recent form of racing is bicycle motocross (BMX) racing, which can be traced to motocross racing. Racers (children and adults) ride on dirt tracks which feature a large number of jumps and turns. BMX racing is very popular in the United States, Europe, and Australia. In 2008 BMX racing made its Olympic debut at the Beijing Games in the form of a men's individual race and a women's individual race.

Doping
      The use of performance-enhancing drugs is considered to be widespread in cycling, especially after the scandal that shook the Tour de France in 1998 and resulted in the expulsion of one of the leading teams (the Festina team). To circumvent the medications prohibited by the UCI, many professional teams and individual riders employ doctors to administer drugs that cannot be detected, such as erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that acts to increase the level of red blood cells and thus the flow of oxygen to muscles. The UCI periodically checks riders for the level of red cells in their blood, with a limit of 50 percent (55 percent for riders from high-altitude regions); anything above that is regarded as an indication of the use of EPO and carries a two-week suspension. About a dozen riders a year fail this health test, as the UCI calls it. Stimulants (stimulant) and antifatigue drugs such as amphetamines are detectable and therefore outmoded. As tests to detect EPO become more certain, no doubt other drugs will be used instead.

Recreation
      Cycling as recreation became organized shortly after racing did. In its early days, cycling brought the sexes together in an unchaperoned way, particularly after the 1880s when cycling became more accessible owing to the invention of the Rover Safety bicycle (bicycle). Public cries of alarm at the prospect of moral chaos arose from this and from the evolution of women's cycling attire, which grew progressively less enveloping and restrictive.

      In modern times, recreational cycling has been a cornerstone in fitness campaigns, especially in the United States, where more than 65 million people are believed to ride regularly, including more than 6 million who use bicycles to commute. Bicycle and touring clubs abound in Europe, especially in France, Belgium, Italy, and England. Touring by bicycle (cyclotourism) is also on the increase worldwide. Bicycle paths have been created on the streets of many cities and in national as well as municipal parks, and in the United States more than 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of abandoned railroad corridors have been turned into bicycle paths.

Transportation
      Since its invention, the bicycle has always been an inexpensive and democratic form of transportation. The advent of the automobile slowed the growth of cycling as a means of conveyance in some Western societies, whereas in China and Southeast Asia the bicycle has remained a very popular form of transportation. In Africa and several central European nations many people travel by bicycle. In the 1990s citizens and city planners in industrialized nations began to question the role of the automobile in urban life; some observers blamed the problem of suburban sprawl in countries such as the United States directly on the rise of automobile-based planning and designs. International groups such as Critical Mass formed to encourage traffic laws and city design more conducive to cycling.

Samuel Abt

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

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