Ever heard of Tour de France, Milan - San Remo or Giro d'Italia races? Now learn something more about road cycling, how it started, world records and its rules and regulations at London Olympics 2012.

Road Cycling

Road cycling is defined by a sportsman's physical strength, agility, and tactful approach to surpass his fellow cyclists during the race. At London 2012 Olympics, Road Cycling will be divided into two events: Road Race and Time Trial. Road race events will be held at The Mall and Time Trial events at Hampton Court Palace. The events are scheduled from Saturday 28 July to Wednesday 1 August 2012. Road races will be showcased on the opening weekend of the Olympics. The time trials will begin on the fifth day. There will be 4 medal events and 212 athletes (145 men, 67 women) will compete in Road Cycling. For Road Race (approximately 250km for men, 140km for women) all riders will start at the same time and the first rider who overpasses the finish line will bag the gold. For Time Trial (approximately 44km for men, 29km for women), the riders start 90 seconds apart, and the winner is the one with the fastest time over the course. At London Olympics 2012, more than 100 support vehicles will be present out on the course during the Cycling Road Races.

Road Cycling Rules And Regulations
Cycling - Road is a breathtaking sport which attracts many spectators. Let's look into the rules and regulations set for this Olympic discipline:
  • Bikes used during the race, can be made up of aluminum, steel, carbon fiber or titanium. These bikes are usually 8–10kg in weight. The riders are not allowed to make changes to the traditional bicycle design in order to enhance its aerodynamics during the road races, except for the aerodynamic handlebars that are allowed in the time trial.
  • The national teams are positioned on the start line based with their world rankings, at the commencement of the road race.
  • Helmets are mandatory for all the riders in both cycling events.
  • Refreshment stations are positioned around the course, offering food and drink to the athletes.
  • The riders belonging to the same nationality can pass food and drink to each other from the stations during the race.
  • It is an offence if a competitor pushes another along the course. In such a case the offender will be disqualified.
  • The riders are permitted to receive assistance in case of puncture and mechanical repairs from official vehicles which pursue the race, or from the pits stationed along the course. Even the riders from the same nation can help each other in repair by offering repair tools.
  • The act of drafting, that is riding in the slipstream of the bicycle in front is permitted in the road race, but it is banned in the time trial.
Road Cycling History
As early as it is known, the first ever bicycle race was held in Paris in 1868, and surprisingly won by a 19-year-old cyclist from Suffolk named James Moore. Since then, the sport has become very popular in the western European countries of Spain, Belgium, France and Italy. The first world championship of Road Cycling took place in 1893. Some of Europe's earliest and most prestigious road bicycle races include Liege-Bastogne-Liege (established 1892), Paris-Roubaix (1896), the Tour de France (1903), the Milan - San Remo and Giro di Lombardia (1905), the Giro d'Italia (1909) and the Ronde van Vlaanderen (1913).

Road Cycling debuted at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, with an 87km race that started and finished in Athens via Marathon. A meager of 6 six riders took part in it. But there was no Road Cycling event at the next three Olympic Games, (Paris 1900, St Louis 1904 or London 1908 Games) but the sport bounced back in 1912 and has been a permanent part of the Olympics programme ever since. London Olympics 2012 is ready to host the dynamic sport that will have thousands of spectators cheering their favorite racer!