Road Racing – Worldwide Bicycle Edition

the three major cycling competitions

The invention of the bicycle is recorded to be around 1817. Ever since the appearance of this man-power-propelled creation, people started wanting one. Many years later, the bicycle became a symbol for many worldwide events. Today, we will explore a variety of races that feature participants from all around the globe. They can be held in one day or in a few weeks – without any delay, here we go!

The Grand Tours

Starting off with the hardest, most notable road racing events, we begin with the Grand Tours. These types of bicycle racing events are defined by their length and duration. They are usually held in a period of over a couple of weeks and require the participants to go over hundreds and thousands of kilometers. Below, we have listed a few of the most notable competitions held to this day.

The Tour de France

The most famous bicycle competition in the world, the Tour de France is held every single year for more than a hundred years! It was the first of its kind, and it requires of its riders to complete a distance of approximately 3,500 kilometers. Averagely, it is held over 3 weeks, with pre-determined routes and stages, where participants will go through a variety of roads and terrains. The Tour de France is not only the most famous bicycle race but also the hardest.

Giro d’Italia

Translated as the Tour of Italy, this multiple-stage race is hosted and held in Italy. Just like in the Tour de France, the Italian bicycle competition is held on native grounds, with occasional passes through neighboring countries. The distance riders must pass over the course of three weeks, amounts to approximately 2,500 kilometers. Another interesting fact about Giro d’Italia is that it is also a race that has been held for more than 100 years!

Vuelta a España

Another multi-stage bicycle competition, this is the Tour of Spain. After witnessing the success and interest of the French and Italian tours, Spain decided to host their own tour, and they have been doing so since 1955. Just like with the other Grand Tour bicycle racing competitions, the Tour of Spain also started out with local participants, and after it gained massive popularity, it started to accept professional bicycle teams from all over the world. The last Vuelta a España was 3,324 kilometers long.

The Union Cycliste Internationale World Tour

All professional bicycle racing is governed by the UCI. Although the UCI oversees the different events in the Grand Tour classification, it is mainly involved in same-day races. When compared in terms of distance to the other bicycle races, they don’t seem that much impressive, but their merits lay in other aspects. While in Grand Tours there is a predetermined distance, the UCI races determine their winners by calculating how much they’ve cycled through in 12 hours.

Olympic Races

Grant Tour races are for male participants only – the UCI World Tour races, on the other hand, feature male and female events. In addition to that and a 12-hour pedaling session, UCI also oversees sprint events which are usually held on a closed-circuit track. These and many other types of bicycle racing events are held under the Olympic banner. Bicycling races are no less impressive and physically demanding than other types of sports, and this is why they are held even to this day.

The BMX Games

Also overseen by the UCI, the BMX bicycle races are something else. The BMX bicycle features a smaller frame, smaller but wider tires, and it is used primarily in close-circuit tracks with different geometry. What BMX races resemble very closely, are dirt-motorcycle races.

Acrobatic Bicycle Events – the UCI Indoor Cycling World Cup

This is one of the most unique bicycle competitions in the world. While not exactly a race, this is probably the most visually impressive bicycle competition that has ever existed. More closely related to Gymnastics and Acrobatics, this competition features both individuals and teams of two. An indoor floor is given to a participant who starts to ride in circles and perform an outstanding array of acrobatic feats.

BMX Tricking

Reminiscent of the UCI Cycling World Cup, the BMX tricks races are another visually pleasing event. In the Park style, participants perform acrobatics on a flat surface area. The Vertical stage gives the riders a U-shaped ramp which the best riders in the world use to jump 4.5 meters up in the air while performing acrobatic feats.

There are Many Others

While some Worldwide bicycle events can be a compilation of several different disciplines, sometimes a discipline can branch out into its own global competition. Whatever the bicycle race is, if it is on a worldwide level, you can be sure that it will be spectacular and entertaining!