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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(born 18 March 1981), nicknamed "Spartacus
", is a Swiss
professional road bicycle racer
for UCI ProTeam Trek Factory Racing
. Cancellara has achieved great success in the sport of cycling since becoming a professional cyclist. He is known for being a quality time trialist
, a classics
specialist, and being a workhorse
for his teammates that have general classification aspirations.
Cancellara began cycling after falling in love with an old bike at the age of thirteen. After that, he then began to take the sport more seriously and he won two consecutive World Junior Time Trial Championships in 1998 and 1999. At age nineteen he turned professional and signed with the Mapei-Quick Step team, where he rode as a stagiaire.
Since turning professional, Cancellara has ridden for four professional teams. He has achieved great success in the classics; he has won Paris–Roubaix three times, the Milan – San Remo once, and the Tour of Flanders twice. Cancellara has won the opening stage of the Tour de France five times and has led the race for 28 days total, which is the most of any rider who has not won the Tour. His success has not been limited to just time trials and classics, as he has won general classification of the Tirreno–Adriatico, Tour de Suisse, and the Tour of Oman. In 2008, he won gold in the individual time trial and silver in the men's road race at the Summer Olympics. In addition that, Cancellara has been the time trial world champion four times in his career.
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