Cycling and its famous three events, that phenomenal Slovak Peter Sagan loves as well
If you are a cycling enthusiast, as we are, you have spent the last few weeks hypnotizing the TV and watching the individual parts of Tour de France. We were a little disappointed that our phenomenal Peter Sagan would not be at the top this year due to the injury and its consequences. Unfortunately, the injury and pain took their toll, and Peter gave up before proving his famous Sagan invincibility. Cycling is fair, whatever happens to anyone. After a long time, Peter Sagan is a person that people abroad are jealous of for us. We dare say that rightly so.
Let’s take a look at the world of cycling, get your bikes and learn something new about the Grand Tour. Have you ever heard of a Grand Tour?
Grand Tour – a trio of the most prestigious events in Europe
You may have heard the Grand Tour – unless not. So let’s introduce this grand term. Under this name are well hidden the three most prestigious events in Europe in road cycling. The Grand Tour includes the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. All three last a week and are taking place every day in a specific section.
Thanks to these events, more points than standard ones are added to the UCI rankings and these are the only races that have been allowed to last more than 14 days. The Italian Giro d’Italia is usually in May, the Tour de France in July and the Spanish Vuelta in the second half of August and September, when the weather in the Mediterranean is a little more bearable and pleasant. The Vuelta originally went first – in the spring, usually in late April. However, since 1995, it has been moved to as the last to not conflict with the Giro d’Italia.
Haven’t you been to the Tour de France? As if you didn’t even know what cycling is
The Tour de France is credited with an unwritten (and written) top position for the championship as far as the Grand Tour is concerned. It is the oldest phase and also the most prestigious in terms of ranking points. You may not believe it, but it is the world’s most visited sporting event for fans of sports called cycling and active enthusiasts of this elegant sport. Interestingly, the Grand Tour only exists in men’s cycling; women’s cycling does not have anything like it at all.
The alternative is the Giro Rosa, a ten-stage race for ladies – and at the same time, the only one we can compare to men’s cycling and the Grand Tour. Overall, women’s cycling is at a completely different level than men’s.
Spaniards, Italians, Slovaks – who rules the Grand Tour top cyclists?
In this case, we could say that history repeats itself. What names would you come up with if you were given the task of naming some famous cyclists and it wasn’t Peter Sagan? Do you still remember heroes like the Spaniard Miguel Indurain, the Belgian Eddy Merckx or Alberto Contador? How all the sports fans were impressed with the news of who won the Vuelta in 2006. Do you remember the surprising Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov, who was the biggest surprise of that year for everybody, even experts? However, no sensations have occurred since that year, and the podium mostly belongs to old and well-known names.
Interestingly, during a difficult period in Europe – World War II, the Vuelta took place in 1941 and 1942. Among the top recorders who managed to win several races from the Grand Tour are the Belgian Eddy Merckx (11x), Frenchman Bernard Hinault (10x) and again Frenchman Jacques Anquetil (8x). Interestingly, all three won the Tour de France 5 times and no one beat them, except for the Spanish Miguel Indurain, who was not so lucky in other races. With today’s opportunities and the possibilities of the cyclists, potential copycats will have it quite challenging.
Controversy also dominates cycling
The controversy primarily concerns the invitation of individual teams to participate in events. The International Cycling Union, also known as the Union Cycliste Internationale, prefers the top teams. In contrast, the organizers of the individual stages prefer teams from the surrounding area or teams around with no scandals around and present.
You may have thought the same as we did – why don’t the same cyclists win all three prestigious events of the year? It is a very, very rare case. For example, in 2004, 474 cyclists started in all three, only 68 in two and only two in three. Nice countdown, huh? Speculation and strategies are no secret anymore. For example, sprinters start every Grand Tour race. They hope to win as many parts as possible until challenging stages are not good and other names stand out. Mark Cavendish is an example in 2010 and 2011. He started all three but only completed the Tour de France.
Phenomenon such as cycling has millions of followers and fans worldwide, not only among men but also among women. But we will not forget Peter either; we would not allow ourselves to make this mistake. However, in order not to skip Slovakia and our well-known names on this trip around the world – of which we really have more names than Peter Sagan only – we are already working on another article for you, to introduce you the names we should be proud of and get to know.
Until then, we wish you a beautiful summertime and until the next sports occasion, dear friends!
Sincerely, Virtual Championship Team