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To the casual observer the world of cycling consists of the Tour de France and velodrome format races that are widely seen at events like the Olympics. However, the cycling calendar is actually much deeper than just the Tour de France, the sport’s most recognizable event. There's actually some sort of cycling competition held virtually every week of the year, and often times, there are many going on at the same time. The only month which road racers tend to take off is in December for the holidays. However, once January revs up again, it's back on the bike to get ready for more.
In terms of the number of competitors and the amount of events, road cycling is the most popular form of professional cycle racing. There are two common formats used in cycle racing which are mass start and time trial events. One reason for the large number of events is the shear amount of categories in bicycle racing, which include mountain bike racing, track cycling and BMX.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the sport’s world governing body. The 2020 UCI World Tour is a series of 37 road cycling events held throughout the year. The season starts in late January with the first stage of the Tour Down Under in and around Adelaide, South Australia, and concludes in late October with the final leg of the Tour of Guangxi.
The biggest events of the racing year are the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, collectively known as the Grand Tours. The races have a special classification by the UCI with the trio the only events allowed to last longer than 14 days. The Giro d’Italia takes place from May 9-30, 2020. The other Grand Tour events will span two months with the Tour de France taking place from June 27 to July 19 and the Vuelta a Espana from August 14 to September 6.
A number of countries have their own national governing body to oversee the sport within its borders. For example, USA Cycling covers the various racing categories in the United States and organizes and sanctions over 2,000 events across the country each year. British Cycling represents Great Britain at the UCI and organizes the popular British National Road Race Championships, which many cyclists use to prepare for the Tour de France.
In order to excel at cycling, bicyclists have to overcome a number of terrains. Yes, it certainly helps to be able to ride across a flat surface, but there’s also mountain climbing and the ability to hit maximum speed which keeps cyclists at the top of their game. It's a skill that not many have, and it's no wonder why there are only a handful of racers every year who seem to have a shot in the top competitions.
And those athletes typically come from European countries where professional racing is most popular. France, Italy, Spain and Belgium have a history with road cycle racing that dates back to the late 19th century with some of the earliest races from those countries still among the sport’s biggest events. Cycling has also been a part of the Olympics since the first games were held in 1896. However, the popularity of the sport has allowed other countries to produce world-class cycle racers.
The three Grand Tour races – Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana – are all stage races where the cyclist with the lowest cumulative time to complete all stages is declared the winner. Thus, a cyclist does not have to win any of the individual stages to emerge victorious.
The world of cycling is one which isn't ventured into often by bettors, but often times, it's a great way to make some quick cash while taking advantage of betting lines the general public stays away from.
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