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Latest update: 08/06/2009 18:17 +0300

Mountain Bike:
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Union Cycliste
Internationale (UCI)
www.uci.ch

Technical Director: Evangelos Diamantides
Technical Meeting: Wed 3 June, 17:00
Venue: Machairas
CYPRUS2009 Results

Bicycles were first developed in 1817 and have long since been used as a form of transport. Originally, the front wheel was much larger than the rear wheel, and the rider was elevated a great deal, making them difficult to control and very dangerous. In 1885, J.K. Starley of England devised the more modern bike with a chain and gearing to allow the wheels to be of equal size. Although bicycle races had been held on the old "penny farthings", the new bikes stimulated the growth of bicycle racing as a sport.

Cycling at the Olympics features four exciting disciplines: Road, Track, Mountain Biking and bmx, although CYPRUS2009 will only include the Mountain Bike event.

Mountain biking debuted in the Games in 1996 at Atlanta. The sport was about 40 years old then, if you date it back to the university student who first stripped down his bicycle, converted it and headed for the hills in 1953. The sport was just 20 years old, though, if you date it back to the first organised competition outside San Francisco.

The members of the Velo Club Mount Tamalpais generally receive the credit for establishing mountain biking as a sport. They invented the Repack Downhill race, held regularly between 1976 and 1979 just across the famed Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The races attracted riders from near and far, and the media soon followed. It was a cool sport, a fringe sport, but 1990, it had turned into a truly professional sport, complete with World Championships.

Cross-country sees the riders riding over what is usually a very hilly, sometimes mountainous course, usually on natural terrain. They may need to manoeuvre over trees, branches, rocks and streams.

Men race between 40 and 50 kilometres, and women cover 30 to 40km. The exact distances are decided the night before the race, when officials ponder the weather conditions and aim for an optimum finishing time of two hours and 15 minutes for the top man, two hours for the top woman. The course is set so men complete six to seven laps and women race five to six.


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