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 2009 Giro d'Italia
was the 92nd running of the Giro d'Italia
, one of cycling's Grand Tours
. It was held from 9 to 31 May 2009, and marked the 100th year since the first edition of the race. Starting in Venice
and finishing in Rome, 22 teams competed over 21 stages.
The Giro was raced on a unique path through Italy, taking the peloton to some historic cities and towns in Italian cycling. Though the route lacked any well-known, storied climbs, the many intermediate and mountain stages in the second and third weeks of the race proved deceptively difficult. The 10th and the 16th stages were both called the race's queen stage, as both contained multiple difficult mountain climbs.
Riders protested during the ninth stage, a criterium in Milan. This protest was nominally about the overall safety conditions of the stage, and was sparked by life-threatening injuries sustained by Pedro Horrillo the day before. In the protest, riders declined to contest the stage except for a final sprint finish, a decision that proved controversial with race organizers and fans.
Denis Menchov won the race, having taken the lead in a long time trial in stage 12, and defended vigorously against attacks by his closest challenger, Danilo Di Luca, during the mountain stages of the final week. Di Luca came in second, 41 seconds behind the winner, and won the mauve jersey as points classification winner. Subsequent to the Giro, both he and third-place finisher Franco Pellizotti became embroiled in doping scandals, were given bans, and had their results stripped.
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Alberto Contador Velasco
(Spanish pronunciation: [alˈβerto kontaˈðor βeˈlasko]
; born 6 December 1982) is a Spanish professional cyclist and has been widely considered to be the best climbing specialist
and stage racer in the world. Contador is one of five riders to have won all three Grand Tours
of road cycling. He was the winner of the 2007 Tour de France
with the Discovery Channel
team. With the Astana team he has won the 2008 Giro d'Italia
, the 2008 Vuelta a España
and the 2009 Tour de France
. He initially also won the 2010 Tour de France
with this team, and the 2011 Giro d'Italia
with team Saxo Bank-SunGard, only to be stripped of these titles later having been found guilty of a doping offence.
Contador's career has been marked by doping allegations. The Operación Puerto doping case led his Astana-Würth team (a team unrelated to the current Astana team) to withdraw en masse from the 2006 Tour de France before it began. He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, but was also accused of doping after his victory in the race the following year. In September 2010, Contador announced that he had tested positive for clenbuterol in a control taken during that year's Tour de France, in which he finished as winner, but although he was suspended during an investigation, he was cleared by the RFEC. A review by the Court of Arbitration for Sport initially set for June 2011 was later deferred several times until February 2012, when the CAS decided that Contador be stripped from the results obtained in the 2010 Tour de France and later, which also caused him to lose his 2011 Giro d'Italia victory. He was also suspended until 5 August 2012, and his contract with Team Saxo Bank was annulled. Upon the completion of his ban, Contador rejoined the renamed Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank.
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