first cycle race took place in the Parc de St
Cloud in Paris and Rouen 18 months later.
was an Olympic sport right from the start in
1896. A women’s road race was introduced
in 1984, followed by a sprint in 1988.
at competitive level takes in track racing, road
racing (the most famous race being the Tour de
France which continues for three weeks every
summer) as well as cyclo-cross and mountain-bike
events on rougher terrain.
as the 'track'. There are wooden indoor tracks
and hard-surfaced outdoor tracks. The World
Championship standard length is 333 metres. Some
tracks are twice this length.
tracks are steeply banked. The incline in the
straight is never less than 12 degrees, and may
be as much as 55 degrees around the bends. The
minimum width of an international track is 7
metres. Three coloured lines are marked round
the track. The 20-centimetres-wide blue band
painted around the inside of the track is not
part of the competition area and players must
not cycle on it. The continuous red line painted
90 centimetres from the inside edge is called
the sprinters' line. The third line, again
blue, around the circumference of the track a
third of the distance from the inside edge is
the stayers' line.
takes place anti-clockwise. Once a sprinter
positions himself on the stayers’ line he
can only be passed on the right. This is a
safety measure to cut down
racing bike is an expensively light piece of
equipment built from alloy. A racing cyclist
will need several bikes each costing $2,500 or
Competitors wear a coloured team jersey
with short sleeves, and black shorts, which
usually reach mid-tight. Protective helmets must
be worn. These vary but recently there have been
developments in aero-dynamic helmets to cut down
wind resistance. They look rather like swept
back Viking helmets. Then there are specials
cycling shoes which fit onto the pedals, so that
can not slip off. They unclip easily.
racing, when the race may be over 100 miles
long, a bag is slung across the cyclist's
back containing extra water and
RULES AND REGULATIONS
sprint races, usually only two contestants, a
draw determines who will lead out. The leader
will travel at least at walking pace. Sprinting
is a cat and mouse game where the competitors
often only cycle flat out over the last 200
metres of a 1,000-metre race. In any track race
a rider who forces another off his bike is
disqualified. In other races the last rider on
each lap is eliminated until only one rider
RECORDS SET IN THE GAME
the long-distance road racing that produces the
households names of cycling, rather than the
more mundane track events. The Belgian- Eddie
Merckx, born in 1945, is regarded as the
greatest racing cyclist who rode the roads. He
won no less than five Tours de France, wearing
the yellow jersey presented to the winner of
each day's stage for a record 96 times.
great names of the games are quarterbacks going
back to the legendary Joe Namath, born in May
1943 in beaver falls, Pennsylvania. In 1967 he
became the first pro quarterback to throw for
over 4000 yards in a single season. Not long out
of college, and playing for the University of
Alabama, he was bought by the New York jets for
the then astronomical fee of $400,000, and in
1969 pulled off one of the greatest Superbowl
shocks when the jets beat the Baltimore Colts.
He played until 1977, ending up with the Los
Britain's best track rider, Chris
Boardman, born near Liverpool in Lancashire, has
switched to professional road racing in Europe.
But before he did he left a lasting impression
at the 1992 Olympics by smashing record after
record in the 4,000-metre
DID YOU KNOW?
a gold medal was awarded at the World
championships to a team that never finished!
While in the lead in the 4,000 metres pursuit
final against Britain, the West German front man
braked to avoid an official who was replacing
markers on the track. The rider behind touched
his wheel and went down, causing the rest of the
team to collide with him. The British
"winners" refused to accept the gold
and the West Germans were given the
New York Six Day Endurance Race of 1897, C. w.
Miller rode through the six days at an amazing
average speed of 14.5 m.p.h.! His sleep averaged
only 4.5 hours a night.
British Cyclist Tom Simpson, who rode for
Peugeot, had a gift for self-promotion. He
always appeared with a bowler hat and an
umbrella and was known as "Major
has been known to interrupt a boxing match, but
cycling? During the early years of the sport,
Australian cyclists used the track at the
Western Australia cricket ground on the coast.
On the occasion, during an unusually high tide,
the cyclists had to pedal for their