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Cycling - bicycle race with a yellow bonus jersey




First steps on two wheels 

Cycling is one of the largest spectator sports in the world. In Western and Central Europe, cycling events are particularly popular. The Grands Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España) constitute an important element of public life and in the media. The bicycle was invented by the German chief forester Karl Drais in 1817. The first road race was organised already in 1865 in Amiens (France). Many of the first races, like Paris-Roubaix or Milan-San Remo still take place today and are referred to as the „classics“. In 1903, the first stage race was organized: the Tour de France.

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Bicycle Race

UnibetRoad racing refers to cycle racing on public streets and roads. The International Cycling Union (UCI, Union Cycliste Internationale) distinguishes two types of road races: one-day races and stage-races.

  • Tour de France

The most popular stage race is the Tour de France. It is planned and organized by the French Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) with its president having supreme control over the event. The participants of the Tour de France consist of professional company teams. Every year, 21-22 professional teams, including the 20 Teams of the UCI Pro Tour, participate with nine riders each. All riders of one team are evaluated with the same time. For every stage, except for the prologue, there is a time limit that indicates within what time all the riders have to finish the stage. Every stage comprises zones where riders are given packed lunches which are approved of by the Tour organizers prior to the race.

The Tour awards high prize money but this has lost importance over the past years because the ‘market value’ of a cyclist is determined according to his performance in the Tour and the athletes live on what their employers pay them.

Classification and jerseys

The best riders in the different competitions wear special colored jerseys provided by sponsors:

  • Yellow jersey – overall leader
  • Green jersey – best sprinter
  • Polka dot jersey – king of the mountains
  • White jersey – best junior
  • Red rider’s number – most aggressive rider

Team prize (50,000€) – best team

Tour de France – Hall of fame

  • Lance Armstrong – The American won the Tour seven times in a row from 1999 to 2005. Despite being a great athlete who managed to overcome testicular cancer, he lost much of his fame because he was involved in the Fuentes doping affair. All his wins have been canceld.
  • Miguel Indurain - The Spanish retired road cycle racer won the Tour de France five times and is now amongst the most successful road cycle racers in the world.
  • Richard Virenque - The French cyclist of Moroccan origin is the king of the mountains. He won the polka dot jersey seven times.
  • Jan Ullrich – the only German cyclist who has ever won the Tour de France (1997). Unfortunatly under the influece of illegal doping.

Bad Doping

Unfortunately, the largest spectator event in the world of sports is often overshadowed by illegal drug abuse. The first big doping scandal, the Festina-affair hit the Tour in 1998 when one of the soigneurs of the Team Festina, Willy Voet, was arrested for the possession of illegal substances, mainly erythropoetin (EPO). In 2006, one day before the start of the Tour, a new doping scandal hit the world of cycling. Spanish authorities published a list of 58 suspects, which lead to the disqualification of the top riders Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Oscar Sevilla and Joseba Beloki as well as other athletes. The list belonged to the Spanish team doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who practiced systematic doping. In 2007 again, doping was the key issue of the Tour de France and the German TV channels ARD and ZDF even stopped live Tour coverage. The uproar started in June 2007 when the German top cyclist Jörg Jaksche admitted to systematic doping throughout his career from 1997 onwards and revealed the large-scale doping problems that exist in professional cycling.

  • Giro d’Italia

The Giro d’Italia is the second most important road race in the world (after the Tour de France) and is held annually in May during three weeks where the teams cover a track across Italy and the neighboring countries.

Classification jerseys

Pink jersey (maglia rosa) – Overall leader
Green jersey (maglia verde) – Mountain classification
Mauve / cyclamen jersey (maglia ciclamino) – Points competition
Blue jersey (maglia azzurra/blu) – Combination classification
White jersey – Best junior

  • Vuelta Ciclista a España

The Vuelta a España is the third Grand Tour. It is held annually during three weeks in September and covers Spain and its neighboring countries.The overall leader wears the golden jersey, the leader of the mountain competition wears the orange jersey and the winner of the points competition is awarded the blue jersey. The winner of the combination classification wears the white jersey. The overall winners of the Vuelta over the last three years came from Russia and Kazakhstan.

  • UCI Pro Tour

The UCI Pro Tour comprises 27 road races, including the ‘Grands Tours’ and the most important one-day races as well as the races of the former UCI Road World Cup and the UCI Europe Tour. In the aftermath of the Fuentes-affair of 2006, the UCI Pro Tour teams decided to establish a code of ethics. The code forbids the employment of any athlete under doping suspicion. The team Discovery Channel contracted Ivan Basso, who was involved in the Fuentes-scandal, risking suspension. In a voting, however, the majority decided in favor of the team. The UCI Pro Tour teams then drafted a document containing special rules but it turned out that it was not enforceable by law. Consequently, the adherence to the agreement still depends on the athletes’ own free will.

Track Cycling

Track cycling refers to cycling races carried out on special tracks or in stadiums (velodromes).

  • Sprint. In a sprint race, 2 – 4 riders compete against each other and cover a distance of 1000m. The first to cross the finish line is the winner.
  • Team Sprint / Olympic Sprint. Three teams of three riders compete against each other and start on opposite sides of the track. At the end of each lap, the leader has to leave the race and the second rider takes the lead.
  • Keirin is a Japanese version of the sprint. 8 cyclists cover a distance of about 2000m and have to stay behind a derny motorcycle which serves as pacemaker during the first two thirds of the track.
  • In an individual time trial, men cover a distance of 1000m, women 500m. On the first 200m of the track, the rider accelerates to maximum speed and then tries to keep this speed for the remaining 800m and 300m respectively.
  • In pursuit events, riders start on opposite sides of the track. The rider who manages to catch up with his opponent is the winner. If no participant succeeds, the rider with the best time is the winner of the pursuit.
  • A points race is a ‘mass start’ race with the first 4 riders to cross the finish line after a specified distance scoring a certain number of points. The total number of completed rounds is important for the overall victory.
  • Scratch. This discipline is comparatively new. Several riders have to cover a certain number of rounds and the first one to finish the last round is the winner.
  • In a Madison race there are two riders per team only one of which is racing at a time though, after a certain distance, the team-mate takes over for him. Usually, both riders of one team stay on the track throughout the race whereas the one who is not racing goes rather slowly. When changing riders, the racing rider tries to pull his teammate into the race performing slingshot movement.
  • In a pacemaker race, the participants ride behind a motorcycle, the so-called pacemaker. The motorcyclist rides in an almost upright position in order to create as much slipstream as possible for the cyclists.
  • The hour record is about covering as great a distance as possible within one hour. The athlete is riding alone and without any slipstream.

Mountain biking, BMX

Mountain biking refers to off-road races, often in mountainous terrain far from civilization. Generally speaking, there are two disciplines of mountain biking: cross-country-racing and downhill. Cross-country tracks go uphill and downhill and are very diverse while downhill tracks go downhill throughout the race. In BMX, we distinguish two types of disciplines: racing and freestyle. In 2008 BMX Racing is going to be an Olympic discipline.

Artistic Cycling, Cycle Ball, Cycle Polo

Artistic cycling refers to a form of cycling in which athletes perform acrobatic tricks on special bicycles. In single artistic cycling, only one athlete performs exercises. These exercises include upright standing on saddle and handle bar (stands), handstands, raiser figures (performed only on the rear wheel), jumps from the saddle to the handle bar, spinnings on the front wheel, jumps and turns etc. In pair artistic cycling, two athletes perform together, first on two bikes and then on one bike. Artistic cycling for four and six and unicycling for four and eight consists in performing exercises synchronously.

If you would like to place secure bets, register over BonusBonusBonus at Stan James and get our terrific welcome bonus. Money make the world go round. Cycle ball is about kicking a ball weighting 500-600 grams into the goal while riding special bikes. The ball is moved only with the front or back wheel. The two most common disciplines are cycle ball in teams of two and cycle ball in teams of five. Cycle polo is a mixture of cycle ball and polo, which is usually played on horseback. The aim is to move the ball into the opposing team’s goal by using a mallet. The ball may be stopped with the bicycle wheels.

Olympic Cycling Disciplines

  • Road racing: Individual Time Trial
  • Track cycling: Sprint, 4000/3000m Individual Pursuit, 4000m Team Pursuit, Points Race, Keirin, Olympic Sprint, Madison
  • Mountain biking: Cross Country
  • BMX is going to be included in 2008: BMX Race

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