Road bicycle racing
Road bicycle racing is the cycle sport discipline of road cycling, held on paved roads. Road racing is the most popular professional form of bicycle racing, in terms of numbers of competitors and spectators; the two most common competition formats are mass start events, where riders start and race to set finish point. Stage races or "tours" take multiple days, consist of several mass-start or time-trial stages ridden consecutively. Professional racing has been most popular in Western Europe, centered on France, Spain and the Low Countries. Since the mid-1980s the sport has diversified with professional races now held on all continents of the globe. Semi-professional and amateur races are held in many countries; the sport is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale. As well as the UCI's annual World Championships for men and women, the biggest event is the Tour de France, a three-week race that can attract over 500,000 roadside supporters a day. Road racing in its modern form originated in the late 19th century.
It began as an organized sport in 1868. The sport was popular in the western European countries of France, Spain and Italy, some of those earliest road bicycle races remain among the sport's biggest events; these early races include Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Paris–Roubaix, the Tour de France, the Milan–San Remo and Giro di Lombardia, the Giro d'Italia, the Volta a Catalunya, the Tour of Flanders. They provided a template for other races around the world. Cycling has been part of the Summer Olympic Games since the modern sequence started in Athens in 1896; the most competitive and devoted countries since the beginning of 20th century were Belgium and Italy road cycling spread in Colombia, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland after World War II. However nowadays as the sport grows in popularity through globalization, countries such as Kazakhstan, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States continue to produce world-class cyclists. Single-day race distances may be as long as 180 miles.
Courses may run from place to comprise one or more laps of a circuit. Races over short circuits in town or city centres, are known as criteriums; some races, known as handicaps, ages. Individual time trial is an event in which cyclists race alone against the clock on flat or rolling terrain, or up a mountain road. A team time trial, including two-man team time trial, is a road-based bicycle race in which teams of cyclists race against the clock. In both team and individual time trials, the cyclists start the race at different times so that each start is fair and equal. Unlike individual time trials where competitors are not permitted to'draft' behind each other, in team time trials, riders in each team employ this as their main tactic, each member taking a turn at the front while teammates'sit in' behind. Race distances vary from a few km to between 20 miles and 60 miles. Stage races consist of stages, ridden consecutively; the competitor with the lowest cumulative time to complete all stages is declared the overall, or general classification, winner.
Stage races may have other classifications and awards, such as individual stage winners, the points classification winner, the "King of the Mountains" winner. A stage race can be a series of road races and individual time trials; the stage winner is the first person to cross the finish line that day or the time trial rider with the lowest time on the course. The overall winner of a stage race is the rider who takes the lowest aggregate time to complete all stages. Three-week stage races are called Grand Tours; the professional road bicycle racing calendar includes three Grand Tours - the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France, the Vuelta a Espana. Ultra-distance cycling races are long single stage events where the race clock continuously runs from start to finish, they last several days and the riders take breaks on their own schedules, with the winner being the first one to cross the finish line. Among the best-known ultramarathons is the Race Across America, a coast-to-coast non-stop, single-stage race in which riders cover 3,000 miles in about a week.
The race is sanctioned by the UltraMarathon Cycling Association. RAAM and similar events allow racers to be supported by a team of staff. A number of tactics are employed to reach the objective of a race; this objective is being the first to cross the finish line in the case of a single-stage race, clocking the least aggr
The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching 1,200 kilometres across eight Alpine countries: France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps; the Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres. The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m, plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era.
A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000; the 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists and artists, in particular, the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks. The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity; the traditional culture of farming and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, Italian and German Alps. At present, the region has 120 million annual visitors; the English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes.
Maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp; this may be consistent with the theory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb "hill". Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe. In Roman times, "Albania" was a name for the eastern Caucasus, while in the English languages "Albania" was used as a name for Scotland, although it is more derived from the Latin albus, the color white; the Latin word Alpes could come from the adjective albus. In modern languages the term alp, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a high mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found, the term "the Alps", referring to the mountains, is a misnomer.
The term for the mountain peaks varies by nation and language: words such as Horn, Kopf, Spitze and Berg are used in German speaking regions. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width; the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, stretching eastward through mid and southern Switzerland; the range continues onward toward Vienna and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the southern border of Bavaria in Germany. In areas like Chiasso and Allgäu, the demarcation between the mountain range and the flatlands are clear; the countries with the greatest alpine territory are Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The highest portion of the range is divided by the glacial trough of the Rhône valley, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa on the southern side, the Bernese Alps on the northern.
The peaks in the easterly portion of the range, in Austria and Slovenia, are smaller than those in the central and western portions. The variances in nomenclature in the region spanned by the Alps makes classification of the mountains and subregions difficult, but a general classification is that of the Eastern Alps and Western Alps with the divide between the two occurring in eastern Switzerland according to geologist Stefan Schmid, near the Splügen Pass; the highest peaks of the Western Alps and Eastern Alps are Mont Blanc, at 4,810 m and Piz Bernina at 4,049 metres. The second-highest major
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Jean Forestier is a former French cyclist. He was a professional from 1953 to 1965. Forestier won the points classification in the 1957 Tour de France, wore the yellow jersey for two days, he won the 1955 Paris–Roubaix. Source: Media related to Jean Forestier at Wikimedia Commons
Désiré "Dis" Keteleer was a Belgian professional road bicycle racer. Keteleer was born in Anderlecht and was professional from 1942 until 1961, winning the inaugural Tour of Romandie in 1947 and La Flèche Wallonne in 1946, he rode in the 1949 Tour de France, winning stage 15. Keteleer died in Rebecq-Rognon. Désiré Keteleer at Cycling Archives
Gino Bartali, nicknamed Gino the Pious and Ginettaccio, was a champion road cyclist. He was the most renowned Italian cyclist before the Second World War, having won the Giro d'Italia twice and the Tour de France in 1938. After the war he added one more victory in each event: the Giro d'Italia in 1946 and the Tour de France in 1948, his second and last Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest gap between victories in the race. In September 2013, 13 years after his death, Bartali was recognised as a "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem for his efforts to aid Jews during World War II. Gino Bartali was born in Ponte a Ema, Italy, the third son of four children of a smallholder, Torello Bartali, he was powerfully built, with a boxer's face. He earned pocket money by selling raffia to makers of covers for wine bottles, he began work in a bicycle shop when he was 13. He started racing at 13, became a promising amateur and turned professional in 1935 when he was 21, he was Italian champion the next year.
On 14 November 1940 Bartali married Adriana Bani in Florence. The wedding was celebrated by Cardinal Della Costa and was blessed by Pope Pius XII, to whom Bartali donated a bicycle. Bartali won a stage of the 1935 Giro d'Italia and was King of the Mountains, the first of seven times he won the title in the Giro, he was 20. In 1936, before he turned 22, he won the Giro and the Giro di Lombardia, although his season was marred when his brother, died in a racing accident on 14 June. Bartali came close to giving up cycling, he was persuaded in 1937 won the Giro again. His reputation outside Italy was that he was yet another Italian who could not ride well outside his country. There was some truth in the claim; the writer Tim Hilton said: "Bartali was an Italian cyclist, a champion who rode within sight of his own people, was uneasy when the Tour de France travelled north of Paris. He never disputed the northern classics."Stung by the claim, he rode the Tour de France in 1937. He got off to a bad start, losing more than eight minutes by the third stage and more than ten by the Ballon d'Alsace, a mountain in the Vosges.
There he came back to life and led by 1m 14s over the rest and by enough over the leaders that he took the leader's jersey that night in Grenoble. But, the end of his race, he and two helpers, Jules Rossi and Francesco Camusso, were riding across a wooden bridge over the river Colau when Rossi skidded. Bartali fell into the river. Roger Lapébie wrote: "In the valley that leads to Briançon, I saw the accident to the maillot jaune, Bartali; the narrow and bumpy road ran along the foot of a rock. Rossi, leading, took a bend badly and his back wheel hit the parapet of a bridge. Bartali, beside Rossi, couldn't get clear and I saw him fall over the bridge and into the little river three metres below." Camusso pulled him out. Bartali had trouble breathing because of a blow to the chest, he rode on to the end of the day pushed by his helpers. He kept his lead, he got through the Alps, by having lost his jersey, retired in Marseille. Before he dropped out, he notified the organiser, Henri Desgrange, who said: "You are the first rider to come to see me before dropping out.
You're Gino. We'll see each other again next year and you'll win." He did return in 1938 and overcame the teamwork of the Belgians, the cold and rain and a puncture on the Col de l'Iseran. He won the hardest stage, from Digne by more than five minutes; the radio commentator Georges Briquet, after he had seen the crowds of Italians greeting Bartali with green-white-red flags said: "These people had found a superman. Outside Bartali's hotel at Aix-les-Bains, an Italian general was shouting'Don't touch him – he's a god.'" A public subscription was started in his name in Italy, Benito Mussolini was among the contributors. The approaching war led Italy not to send a team in 1939. Bartali once after it, he won classics such as Milan -- the Giro di Lombardia and the Züri-Metzgete. His most famous victory was the 1948 Tour de France. Bartali returned to the Tour in 1948 to find that many riders he had known had died in the war and that there were as many more who had started racing since he stopped, he was so worried.
The Tour started in a rainstorm and Bartali found he could identify nobody because the whole field was wearing waterproofs. He found he was with Briek Schotte; the two finished together at Trouville, Bartali took the yellow jersey. It was during that Tour that the leader of the Italian Communist Party, Palmiro Togliatti, was shot in the neck by a sniper as he was leaving the parliament building; the writer Bernard Chambaz said: History and myth united, a miracle if you like, because that evening Bartali got a phone call at his hotel. In a bad mood, dubious, he didn't want to answer, but someone whispered that it was Alcide de Gasperi, his old friend from Catholic Action, now parliamentary president, who told him that Palmiro Togliatti, secretary-general of the communist party, had been shot at and had survived by a miracle. The situation in the peninsula was tense amid the ravages of the Cold War. Italy needed to win stages; the communists occupied factories and radio and television stations, angry rows in parliament came close to blows.
A revolt was looming. Bartali won three stag