For most cycling enthusiasts, participating in cycling events is their dream. Cyclists can feel the challenge of speed and endurance in the race and surpass themselves. The magnificent scenery along the way also brings warmth and comfort to this extremely difficult sport.
Here are the famous international major cycling road events that a cycling enthusiast should not miss.
World Road Cycling Championships
The UCI Road World Championships Elite Men’s Road Race is a one-day event for professional cyclists that takes place annually. The winner is considered the World Cycling Champion (or World Road Cycling Champion) and earns the right to wear the Rainbow Jersey for a full year in road race or stage events. The event is a single ‘mass start’ road race with the winner being the first across the line at the completion of the full race distance.
The road race is contested by riders organized by national cycling teams as opposed to commercially sponsored or trade teams, which is the standard in professional cycling.
The first professional World Cycling Championship took place in 1927 at the Nürburgring in Germany and was won by Alfredo Binda, of Italy. In recent years, the race is held towards the end of the European season, usually following the Vuelta a España. The event can be held over either a relatively flat course which favors cycling sprinters or over a hilly course which favors more of a climbing specialist or all-round type of cyclist.
The elite men’s race is usually won by riders on the UCI World Tour or its predecessors. However, in the past there were separate events for amateur riders, mainly from Eastern bloc countries.
For men at the elite professional level, the World Cycling Championship, along with the Tour de France, and the Giro d’Italia, forms the Triple Crown of Cycling.
Tour de France
As the oldest multi-stage road cycling event, The Tour de France is an annual men’s multiple-stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours (the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España), it consists of 21 stages, each a day long, over the course of 23 days, coinciding with the Bastille Day holiday. It is the oldest of the Grand Tours and generally considered the most prestigious.
The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L’Auto and is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars. As the Tour gained prominence and popularity, the race was lengthened and its reach began to extend around the globe. Participation expanded from a primarily French field as more riders from all over the world began to participate in the race each year. The Tour is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI WorldTeams, with the exception of the teams that the organizers invite. It has become “the world’s biggest annual sporting event.
The Giro d’Italia, also called Tour of Italt in English, is an annual multiple-stage bicycle race primarily held in Italy, while also starting in, or passing through, other countries. The first race was organized in 1909 to increase sales of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, and the race is still run by a subsidiary of that paper’s owner. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1909, except during the two world wars. As the Giro gained prominence and popularity the race was lengthened, and the peloton expanded from primarily Italian participation to riders from all over the world. The Giro is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI World Teams, with some additional teams invited as ‘wild cards’.
Vuelta a España
The Vuelta Ciclista a España , also known as the Vuelta a España or simply La Vuelta , is a professional road cycling stage race held throughout the Spanish geography, between the end of August and mid- September . It is one of the three Grand Tours and belongs to the UCI WorldTour calendar .
The Vuelta was held for the first time in 1935. Since its creation, the race has been suspended four times: from 1937 to 1940 due to the Spanish civil war , from 1943 to 1944 due to the Second World War and the poor economic situation of Spain, in 1949 and from 1951 to 1954.
With four wins ( 2000 , 2003 , 2004 and 2005 ), Roberto Heras is the most successful rider in the race.