Bicycle racing began almost as soon as the first practical bicycle with evenly sized, air-filled tires, was created (mid-1800’s). The first race was in France in 1868. It was won by an Englishman named James Moore.
By 1903 we had the first Tour de France. It was devised to create publicity for a new cycling newspaper. Maurice Garin won, beating a field of 60 riders. First prize was 6,075 Gold Francs.
Our North American cycling took off slightly behind the Europeans. Cycling Clubs became popular in the late 1800’s. Velodromes were built for track races. The races at Madison Square Garden were infamous and eventually banned. Riders would race non-stop for six days. Excitement over track racing gave way to the road.
Today, the largest cycling event in the United States is the Amgen Tour of California (one of two UCI 2.HC events). It attracts professional racing teams from all over the world.
The first race was held in 2006. It had 16 teams, began in San Francisco at the Embarcadero and finished in Los Angeles. Mick Rogers with Team T-Mobil made their North American debut. California resident Floyd Landis, of Team Phonak Hearing Systems, won the first Tour of California.
The 2012 Amgen Tour of California will bring 18 international teams and feature 800 miles of some of California’s best scenery. Stage 6 will start in Palmdale and come to Big Bear Lake.
In 2010, Big Bear Lake was an exciting finish. Michael Rogers (AUS) of HTC-Columbia secured his place as the race leader. “For 2012, new challenges arise as a new climb is thrown into the mix.”
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