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Professional Cycling

Purists in the cycling world will tell you that road cycling is the classic and arguably most beautiful manifestation of cycle sport. Professional cycling is perhaps most famously associated with the Tour de France, a three week bicycle race around France, covering roughly 3,500 km over 21 days. The race was born in 1903 and has been run every year since, excepting for a four year gap caused by the instabilities of the First World War and a seven year sabbatical prompted by the Second World War.

Cyling Holiday

Cycling Holidays in SpainRecently Lance Armstrong has elevated the level of exposure enjoyed by cycle sport, especially in the Englis peaking world, through his heroic fight against testicular cancer and his record seven consecutive victories in the Tour de France. To put this into perspective, one should remember that only five men before Armstrong have managed to win as many as five Tours, never mind seven. And the Spaniard Miguel Indurain was the only one of these riders to manage five in a row.

Cycling Teams
To be cycling in the Tour de France is to be competing at the pinnacle of professional cycling, and it is only the most talented and dedicated athletes which make the cut into professional cycling teams. Each of these professional cycling teams is managed by a cycling manager who coordinates the riders’ race calendar and publicity appearances. The director sportif is another major player within the team setup and it is this individual’s job to direct the tactical assault launched upon a race by his team leader and supporting riders. Tactics play a massive role in determining the victor when it comes to road cycling, therefore the more cohesive an approach taken by the team, the better the race results will be for the team and the sponsors.

Typically a pro cycling team will consist of a team leader, a team captain and several domestiques, otherwise known as team workers. Depending on the race, there may be one or two team leaders, a strong sprinter for flat races, or a strong climber for the tougher terrain. In essence the team leader is the rider within the team who is most likely to win the race. The team captain will generally be the most wily or tactically experienced rider; it is his job to coordinate the team so as to set up the best possible tactical position from which the team leader can succeed in his duty of winning. The domestiques play a vital role in supporting the team leader. They do this by sheltering the leader from prevailing winds and getting food and drinks from the team’s backup vehicle.

Progressive plan Cycling Battlefields of Cycle Sport
Pro cycling teams compete on the Pro Tour, which includes the three week long tours of France, Italy (Giro de Italia) and Spain (Vuelta a España), as well as famous single day races, otherwise known as the “classics”. Some of these single day races, ranging from 250 km to over 300km, reward top finishers with points for the World Cup. This competition awards a special cycling jersey to the most consistent cyclist at the end of the season.

The world championships, normally held late in the season, serves as an international competition between national teams from around the world. The winner of this prestigious single day race is awarded with what has come to be known as “the rainbow jersey.” This white cycling jersey with a rainbow band around the chest and sleeves is worn by the victor at every road race he rides for the next year. As such his team and sponsors receive much valued publicity as soon as the rider takes his position on the start line.