Cycling is a means of transport, a form of recreation, and a sport. It involves riding bicycles, unicycles, tricycles and other human powered vehicles. A bicycle, the most notable instrument of cycling, is a pedal-driven land vehicle with two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. As a sport, cycling is governed internationally by the Union Cycliste Internationale, headquartered in Switzerland.
Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and now number about one billion worldwide. They are the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world.
Cycling is widely regarded as a very effective and efficient mode of transportation optimal for short to moderate distances. Bicycles provide numerous benefits by comparison with motor vehicles, including the sustained physical exercise necessarily involved in cycling, that cycling involves a reduced consumption of fossil fuels, less air or noise pollution, much reduced traffic congestion, easier parking, greater maneuverability, and access to both roads and paths.
The men's road race, a part of the cycling events
at the 2008 Summer Olympics
, took place on August 9 at the Urban Road Cycling Course
. It started at 11:00 China Standard Time
), and was scheduled to last until 17:30 later that day. The 245.4-kilometre (152.5 mi) course ran north across the heart of the Beijing
metropolitan area, passing such landmarks as the Temple of Heaven
, the Great Hall of the People
, Tiananmen Square
and the Beijing National Stadium
. After rolling over relatively flat terrain for 78.8 km (49.0 mi) north of the Beijing city center, the route entered a decisive circuit encompassing seven loops on a 23.8 km (14.8 mi) section up and down the Badaling Pass
, including ramps as steep as a 10 percent gradient.
The race was won by the Spanish rider Samuel Sánchez in 6 hours, 23 minutes, 49 seconds, after a six-man breakaway group contested a sprint finish. Davide Rebellin of Italy and Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, finishing second and third place with the same time as Sánchez, received silver and bronze medals respectively for the event. The hot and humid conditions were in sharp contrast to the heavy rain weathered in the women's road race the following day.
The event was one of the earliest to be concluded at the 2008 Summer Olympics, taking place on the first day of competition. Concerns were raised before the Olympics about the threat of pollution in endurance sports, but no major problems were apparent in the race.
In April 2009, it was announced that Rebellin had tested positive for Continuous erythropoietin receptor activator (CERA, a third-generation form of erythropoietin) during the Olympics. After his B-sample subsequently confirmed initial results, he returned his medal and repaid the prize money he had won from the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) while still maintaining his innocence. Cancellara and original fourth-place finisher Alexandr Kolobnev were later awarded new medals corresponding to their updated finishing positions.
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Sir Bradley Marc Wiggins
(born 28 April 1980), nicknamed "Wiggo
", is a British professional road
racing cyclist who rides for the UCI ProTeam Team Sky
Wiggins began his career on the track, but has made the transition to road cycling and is one of the few cyclists to gain such success in both forms of professional cycling.
Wiggins was born in Ghent, Belgium, before moving to London, where he began track cycling. He has won six gold medals at the track world championships, his first in 2003 and his most recent in 2008; three in the individual pursuit, two in the team pursuit and one in the Madison. He won a gold in the individual pursuit at the 2004 Olympic Games and two golds in the individual and team pursuit at the 2008 Olympic Games.
After the 2008 Olympics, he showed his ability in stage races on the road when he came fourth in the 2009 Tour de France. In 2011 he claimed his first victory in a major stage race came in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and he also finished third in the Vuelta a España. In 2012 Wiggins won the Paris–Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour de France and the time trial at the Olympic Games.
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