Memorable Moments in Cycling History: From Tour de France to Olympics


Cycling is a popular sport with many hotly contested competitions taking place each year, from the Tour de France to the Olympics. Throughout the decades, it has evolved considerably and some of these famous races can be traced back more than a century. 

There was little engineering in some of these earlier races and the cyclists didn’t even have to wear helmets at one point. Today’s racing, however, is high adrenaline, fast-paced and certainly not without risk, but the world’s best cyclists are fearless and determined. 

Over the years, there have been some incredible and memorable moments that are now part of cycling history, much to the excitement of players on sites like powerplay.com who watch them play out live as they bet on the events. Here are just a few of the most memorable moments in cycling history from all sorts of competitions, including the Tour de France and the Olympics.

Jens Voight, Tour de France 2010

The 2009 Tour de France was far from ideal for Jens Voight as he had to pull up due to injury and was not able to complete the event. When he returned for 2010’s event, he was determined to see a different ending; back to full fitness, it seemed he was destined to make it memorable. He certainly succeeded, but perhaps not for the reasons he hoped! In stage 16, he took a tumble, and although he was unharmed, the same could not be said for his bike, which was pretty much totaled. 

Determined not to repeat his failure to complete the previous year, he came up with an amazing out-of-the-box solution. With no support cars available, he commandeered a child’s bike. There just happened to be a junior event, taking place following the Tour de France, and their timing was perfect. 

He successfully cycled the very small bike for 12 miles before catching up with his team car and retrieving an appropriately sized adult bike. He may not have made headlines by winning the 2010 Tour de France, as he finished in 125th place, but his innovative thinking will certainly go down in history.

Lionel Cox and Russell Mockridge, Helsinki Olympics, 1952

Going down in history for all the right reasons were Lionel Cox and Russell Mockridge. They demonstrated some amazing beginner’s luck at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. Although both men were professional riders, they had never ridden together before. In fact, neither of them had even experienced a tandem bike. 

However, they managed to take the gold medal in the 2000-meter tandem division. Tandem cycling requires a  solid connection with your partner, as unlike solo riding, there is a requirement for communication and coordination. 

What is even more impressive is that they weren’t registered at the Olympics as tandem riders. They were already competing in singles events when they came across a discarded tandem bike in one of the storerooms in the Olympic Village. Apparently, it belonged to the English team, who were more than happy to let the pair have a go. They enjoyed individual success as well, with Cox cleaning silver in a sprint scratch race and Mockridge taking gold for the 1000-meter time trial. However, it must be said that their greatest achievement was winning tandem on their first-ever outing.

Bernard Hinault, Paris-Roubaix 1981

In 1981, Bernard Hinault gave a true demonstration of winning against all the odds in the Paris-Roubaix race. He was known among fellow competitors for being something of a grouch, and this really wasn’t a good day for the Frenchman. The terrain was unfriendly, and he had fallen off his bike six times as he approached the final few kilometers. 

He had overcome these crashes and damage to his bike, including punctures and really thought everything was going to be all right at last. Now the final section is a cobbled street, which, as you can imagine, is not an easy surface to be racing on.

He was approximately 13 km from the finish line when a little black dog named Gruson decided to wander out into his path. Seeing the animal looming, he braked as hard as he could, crashed, and hit the dog, who, realizing he may have caused something of a spectacle, quickly ran away.

Furious, he once more scrambled to his feet and got back on his bike. It’s possible his indignation spurred him on; despite Roger De Vlaeminck and Francesco Moser being ahead of him and likely to win, he managed to catch up, pass them and break the tape. Recovering some of his good humor he even managed to joke about how much of a stupid race he thought the Paris-Roubaix was afterwards.

 

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