British cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel takes part in the women's individual pursuit finals at the World Track Cycling Championships in...Read More >>British cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel takes part in the women's individual pursuit finals at the World Track Cycling Championships in 2008. Cycling is an individual and team sport for men and women racing on roads, tracks or across country. It has been popular since the invention of the bicycle and has led to many innovations to create light, aerodynamic bikes. BMX and cyclo-cross bikes are also extremely strong and often have wider tyres for grip. The most famous cycle race is the three-week Tour de France, while track races held inside a velodrome have become a highlight of the Olympic Games.
The first cycle race was probably held on 31st May 1868 at the Parc de Saint-Cloud, Paris. It was won by an Englishman, James Moore, who was first to pedal 1.2 kilometres (3940 feet) on a wooden bike with iron tyres. He also won the first race between cities, Paris and Rouen, contested the following year. Track races on wooden indoor tracks were first held in England from 1870, partly because the roads were too rough to cycle on.
In 1904 a Tour de France rider was found with a cork in his mouth attached to a length of wire—tied to a car that was pulling him along.
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