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.
is a one-day professional bicycle road race
in northern France
near the Belgian frontier. From its beginning in 1896 until 1967 it started in Paris
and ended in Roubaix
; since 1968 the start has been in Compiègne
(about 60 kilometres (37 mi) north-east from Paris centre). The finish is still in Roubaix. Famous for rough terrain and cobblestones (setts
), it is one of the 'Monuments
' or classics of the European calendar, and contributes points towards the UCI World Ranking
. It has been called the Hell of the North
, a Sunday in Hell
(also the title of a film
about the 1976 race), the Queen of the Classics
or la Pascale
: the Easter race
. The race is organised by the media group Amaury Sport Organisation
annually in mid-April.
First run in 1896, Paris–Roubaix is one of cycling's oldest races. It is known for its many 'cobbled sectors', being, with the Tour of Flanders and Gent–Wevelgem, one of the cobbled classics. Since 1977, the winner of Paris–Roubaix has received a sett (cobble stone) as part of his prize. The terrain has led to the development of specialised frames, wheels and tyres. Punctures and other mechanical problems are common and often influence the result.
Despite the high esteem of the race, some cyclists regard it as a joke because of its difficult conditions. The race has also seen several controversies, with seeming winners of the race disqualified.
The course is maintained by Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix, a group of fans of the race formed in 1983. The forçats du pavé seek to keep the course as safe for riders while maintaining its difficulty.
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Gregory James "Greg" LeMond
(born June 26, 1961) is a former professional road racing
cyclist, entrepreneur, and anti-doping advocate.
LeMond was World Champion in 1983 and 1989, and is a three-time winner of the Tour de France. LeMond was born in Lakewood, California, and raised in ranch country on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, near Carson City, NV. He is married and has three children with his wife Kathy, with whom he supports a variety of charitable causes and organizations.
In 1986, LeMond became the first non-European professional cyclist to win the Tour (and to this day, the only American, following Lance Armstrong's and Floyd Landis' disqualifications). He was accidentally shot while hunting in 1987 and missed the next two Tours. LeMond returned to the Tour de France in 1989, completing an improbable comeback by winning in dramatic fashion on the race's final stage. He successfully defended his title the following year, claiming his third and final Tour victory in 1990, which made LeMond one of only seven riders who have won three or more Tours. LeMond retired from competition in December 1994. He was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1996.
During his career, LeMond championed several technological advancements in pro cycling, including the introduction of aerodynamic "triathlon" handlebars and carbon fiber bicycle frames, which he later marketed through his company LeMond Bicycles. His other business interests have included restaurants, real estate, and consumer fitness equipment.
LeMond is a vocal opponent of performance-enhancing drug use, and at times his commercial ventures have suffered for his anti-doping stance—as in 2001, when he first accused Lance Armstrong of doping and sparked a conflict that led eventually to the dissolution of his partnership with Armstrong's primary sponsor, Trek Bicycles, who licensed the LeMond brand. As recently as December 2012, LeMond even articulated a willingness to replace the UCI president on an interim basis if called to do so.
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