Cycling Road

Facts

Discipline of Cycling
Participants 3233
NOCs 141
Competitions held 64 (Venues)
Distinct events 10
IF Union Cycliste Internationale

Description

Bicycles were first developed in the late 18th century and have since been used as a form of transportation. Originally the front wheel was much larger than the rear wheel and the rider was elevated a great deal, making them difficult to control and very dangerous. In 1885, J. K. Starley of England devised the more modern bike with a chain and gearing to allow the wheels to be of equal size. Although bike races had been held on the old “penny farthings”, the new bikes stimulated the growth of bicycle racing as a sport.

From 1880-1900, cycling became immensely popular both in Europe and the United States. The sport was primarily a professional one at that time. The sport continues its grip on the European continent to this day, but bike racing ceased to be a popular sport in the United States at about the time of the depression. Only the American Olympic victories at Los Angeles in 1984 and the more recent exploits of Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong have stimulated interest in bicycle racing in the United States.

Cycling is one of the few sports which have been on the program of every Olympic Games. The program has varied but now consists of an individual pack-style road race, individual time trial road race, track races, cross-country mountain biking, and BMX racing. In 1984, women were admitted to Olympic cycling with a single road race. In 1988, women’s track events were also added. For 2012 the track cycling program was changed significantly. The popular individual pursuit race has been eliminated, as has the Madison race and points race. In an attempt to equalize the programs for men and women, they competed in five track races – the sprint, team sprint, team pursuit, keirin, and omnium. The omnium is an all-around type of event, in which all the riders compete in five races – a 200 metre flying start time trial, a 15 km scratch race, a 4 km individual pursuit, a 30 km points race, and a kilometer time trial. Scoring is on a points-for-place basis.

Mountain biking has recently become a very popular sport, and in 1993 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved cross-country mountain biking as an Olympic event that appeared on the Olympic Program for the first time at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In 2008, BMX racing for men and women was also added to the Olympic Program.

The Europeans have dominated Olympic cycling, notably the French, British, Italians, and Germans. However, the East Europeans also won many medals, especially on the track, though mostly prior to the fall of the Soviet bloc. Cycling is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) which was founded on 14 April 1900 in Paris, with five founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. As of 2010 the UCI has 171 members.

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Italy ITA 9 7 3 19
Netherlands NED 9 3 2 14
France FRA 8 4 6 18
United States USA 5 4 4 13
Soviet Union URS 5 0 3 8
Belgium BEL 4 3 6 13
Sweden SWE 3 5 8 16
Switzerland SUI 3 3 3 9
Russian Federation RUS 3 1 4 8
Great Britain GBR 2 8 6 16
Germany GER 2 7 3 12
Denmark DEN 2 5 1 8
Australia AUS 2 1 1 4
East Germany GDR 2 1 0 3
Spain ESP 2 1 0 3
Kazakhstan KAZ 1 1 0 2
South Africa RSA 1 1 0 2
Greece GRE 1 0 0 1
Poland POL 0 4 2 6
West Germany FRG 0 2 2 4
Canada CAN 0 1 2 3
Colombia COL 0 1 0 1
Portugal POR 0 1 0 1
Norway NOR 0 0 2 2
Czechoslovakia TCH 0 0 1 1
Latvia LAT 0 0 1 1
Lithuania LTU 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel NED 3 0 0 3
Kristin Armstrong USA 3 0 0 3
Henry Hansen DEN 2 1 0 3
Fabian Cancellara SUI 2 1 0 3
Armand Blanchonnet FRA 2 0 0 2
Robert Charpentier FRA 2 0 0 2
Vyacheslav Yekimov RUS
URS
2 0 0 2
André Noyelle BEL 2 0 0 2
Attilio Pavesi ITA 2 0 0 2
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli FRA 1 2 1 4

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Road Race, Individual Men 26
Individual Time Trial Men 6
Road Race, Individual Women 9
Individual Time Trial Women 6
Combined Team Boys 1
Combined Team Girls 1
Combined Team Mixed Youth 1
Relay Mixed Youth 1
Road Race, Team Men 9
100 kilometres Team Time Trial Men 9