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 1903 Tour de France
was the first Tour de France
, a cycling race set up and sponsored by the newspaper L'Auto
, ancestor of the current daily, L'Équipe
. It ran from 1 to 19 July in six stages over 2,428 km (1,509 mi), and was won by Maurice Garin
The race was invented to boost the circulation of L'Auto, after its circulation started to plummet from competition with the long-standing Le Vélo. Originally scheduled to start in June, the race was postponed one month, and the prize money was increased, after a disappointing level of applications from competitors. The 1903 Tour de France was the first stage road race, and compared to modern Grand Tours, it had relatively few stages, but each was much longer than those raced today. The cyclists did not have to compete in all six stages, although this was necessary to qualify for the general classification.
The pre-race favourite, Maurice Garin, won the first stage, and retained the lead throughout. He also won the last two stages, and had a margin of almost three hours over the next cyclist. The circulation of L'Auto increased more than sixfold during and after the race, so the race was considered successful enough to be rerun in 1904, by which time Le Vélo had been forced out of business.
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" or "Tommy
(30 November 1937 – 13 July 1967) was one of Britain's most successful professional cyclists
. He was born in Haswell, County Durham
and later moved to Harworth
, Nottinghamshire. Simpson began road cycling
as a teenager before taking up track cycling
, specialising in pursuit races
. He won a bronze medal for track cycling at the 1956 Summer Olympics
and a silver at the 1958 Commonwealth Games
In 1959 at age 21, Simpson was signed by the French professional road-racing team St. Raphaël-Géminiani. He advanced to their first team (Rapha-Gitane-Dunlop) the following year, and won the 1961 Tour of Flanders. Simpson then joined Gitane-Leroux-Dunlop; in the 1962 Tour de France he became the first British rider to wear the yellow jersey, finishing sixth overall.
In 1963 Simpson moved to Peugeot-BP-Englebert, winning Bordeaux–Paris that year and Milan–San Remo in 1964. In 1965 he became Britain's first world road race champion and won the Giro di Lombardia; this made him the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the first cyclist to win the award. Injuries hampered much of Simpson's 1966 season. He won two stages of the 1967 Vuelta a España before taking the general classification of Paris–Nice that year.
During the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France, Simpson collapsed and died during the ascent of Mont Ventoux. He was 29 years old. The post-mortem examination found that he had mixed amphetamines and alcohol; this diuretic combination proved fatal when combined with the heat, the hard climb of the Ventoux and a stomach complaint. A memorial near where he died has become a place of pilgrimage for many cyclists. Simpson was known to have taken performance-enhancing drugs during his career, when no doping controls existed. Despite this, he is held in high esteem by many cyclists for his character and will to win.
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