Cycling Sport

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cycling Sport


a kind of sport that includes racing (cross-country, road, and track races), the performance of various figures while riding a bicycle, and veloball.

The first cycling contest took place in France in 1869 on the road between Rouen and Paris (120 km). Wooden bicycles were used, and the winner of the race attained an average speed of 11 km per hour. The first world championships were held in Chicago in 1893 (track racing) and Copenhagen in 1921 (road racing). Since 1896 the sport has been included in the Olympic Games. The first bicycle races in Russia took place on July 24, 1883, at a Moscow racetrack. Track competitions began in 1891, when a stadium for cycle races was built in Moscow at Khodynka Field and the first all-Russian championship was held on a course of 7.5 versts (8 km). During 1911-13 the Russian A. Pankratov rode around the world on a bicycle, for which he was given the highest award of the International Union of Cyclists (IUS), the Diamond Star. In 1918 the championship of the RSFSR was first held, and in 1923, the championship of the USSR.

Cycle race contestants are divided into age groups: children (younger and older), young people (girls and boys), and adults (men and women). In road and cross country-races sportsmen may use racing, semi-racing, or touring bikes; in track races, only racing bikes may be used. Road races may last one or more days and may be individual races (the racer is alone as he leaves the starting point), team races (a team consists of three women and four men), or group races (a group of contestants leaves the starting point simultaneously). Cross-country races take place on a course set up in the countryside. Track races include 1-kilometer sprints (two or three times around the track), 2-kilometer tandem races, two-man or group races with staggered finish lines, men’s heats of 500 m and 1 km from a standing start and 200 and 500 m from a flying start, women’s heats of 500 m from a standing start and 200 m from a flying start, 3- and 4- kilometer men’s pursuit individual races and 2- and 3-kilometer women’s pursuit individual races, men’s paced team races for 2 km (4-man team) and 4 km (4-man team) and women’s paced team races for 2 km (2-woman team) and 3 km (3-woman team), handicap races, races with time-outs, and races of 10-30 laps with staggered and other kinds of finishes.

Each year there are various world championships: road and track races for amateurs and professionals, cross-country races for amateurs, the World Cycle Race for Amateurs (first held in 1948), and the Tour de France for professionals (first held in 1903). Cycle events at the Olympic Games include road and track races.

Among the world champions in track races (1958-70) are the Soviet sportsmen A. Bel’gard, V. Bykov, V. Vukolov, T. Garkushina, G. Ermolaeva, I. Kirichenko, L. Kolumbet, M. Koliushev, V. Kuznetsov, S. Kuskov, D. Latsis, S. Mo-skvin, R. Obodovskaia, O. Pkhakadze, V. Savina, S. Tere-shchenkov, and G. Tsareva. A. Konkina, V. Likhachev, E. Sonk, V. Sokolov, B. Shukov, and V. Iadry have been road racing champions, and V. Kapitonov won a Gold Medal at the 17th Olympic Games (road racing, Rome, 1960).

The IUS, founded in 1900, includes the national federations of more than 100 countries. In 1965 two separate committees were established within the IUS: professionals and amateurs. Soviet cyclists have been members of the IUS since 1952. Outside the Soviet Union the sport of cycling is very highly developed in Italy, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Denmark.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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