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Cycling Road


Cycling has proved incredibly popular ever since bicycles were invented in the mid-18th century. It has featured in every Olympic Games.

Early popularity

Bicycles were first developed in the mid-18th century and have been a popular form of transport ever since.

Big leap forward

In 1885, cycling took a big leap forward when J.K. Starley devised the chain-and-gearing system. Since then, engineers have embraced modern technology to build ever faster, sleeker and lighter bikes.

Popular in Europe

From 1880 to 1900, cycling became immensely popular both in Europe and the United States. The professional sport maintained its place in the public imagination, especially in Europe. Over the last 20 years, road cycling has experienced an movement towards globalization.

Olympic history

Like fencing and athletics, cycling is among the rare sports that have always featured on the Olympic programme. Road cycling, however, was not on the programme of the Paris 1900, St Louis 1904 or London 1908 Games.

The first road event in Olympic history took place in 1896 on the marathon route at the first Games of the modern era in Athens. The race started in Athens, headed towards Marathon, then returned to Athens, at the Phaliron velodrome.

Since the 1912 Games in Stockholm, the individual pursuit has been organised at each edition of the Games. The team time trial was on the programme between 1912 and 1992. 1996 marked the debut of the individual time trial at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Olympic cycling was added to the women’s programme in Los Angeles in 1984, with an individual road event. Later, in 1996, the individual time trial was included in women’s Olympic cycling, as it for the men’s.

The Europeans have always dominated Olympic cycling, particularly through the contribution of the French and Italians. Eastern European countries have also won many Olympic medals, especially in track cycling.

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Gallery

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Olympics Day 2 - Cycling - Road

BEIJING - AUGUST 10: Paulina Brzezna of Poland approaches the finish line in the woman's road cycling event held on the Road Cycling Course during day 2 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 10, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
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Olympic Test Event - Road Cycling

BEIJING - AUGUST 18: Riders pass the main stadium, "Bird Nest," for the Beijing Olympic Games during the Men's Road Race at the Good Luck Beijing Road Cycling International Invitational August 18, 2007 in Beijing, China. The event is a test event for the 2008 Olympic Games. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
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Athens 2004, cycling, Women’s individual sprint

Evgenia Radanova (BUL), 12th, in action

? Kishimoto
Cycling Road - Time Trial Women
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Cycling Road - Time Trial Women

Kristin Armstrong of the United States prepares to start in the Women's Individual Time Trial on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Pontal on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Cycling Road - Time Trial Women
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Cycling Road - Time Trial Women

Kristin Armstrong of the United States crosses the finihs line in the Women's Individual Time Trial on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Pontal on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Cycling Road - Time Trial Women
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Cycling Road - Time Trial Women

Olga Zabelinskaya of Russian Federation competes in the Cycling Road Women's Individual Time Trial on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Pontal on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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