Cycling

 

Cycling can be divided into two main categories: track and road. Track cycling is contested on a specially-built banked track known as a velodrome (250m long for major games).

Road cycling takes place on public roads where the natural surroundings create a scenic backdrop for the course. The road race competition at the 15th Asian Games will be staged primarily on the Corniche bay.

Cycling is far more complicated and strategic than first apparent. Riding in close proximity, known as drafting, is usually the key to victory. Following close behind an opponent or team mate (in their slipstream) dramatically reduces wind resistance, so the race leader is frequently at a disadvantage.

The advantage of drafting is most noticeable in the track sprint races, where the two competitors jockey for position. Cyclists often come to a virtual standstill on the track while trying to manoeuvre into second place, with the aim of catapulting out of their opponent's slipstream to clinch victory.

In team races, cyclists work together with their team mates, alternating the leadership so they can take full advantage of the drafting effect.

If there is a close finish in the road race, the team leader or the best sprinter will usually come from behind one or more team mates who will attempt to lead him at top speed towards the finish line. The most unusual track race is the Keirin, where riders draft behind a motorcycle (known as a derny) ridden by an official.

Races often feature close finishes at high speed, with track cyclists reaching speeds of up to 70km per hour. Velodromes are enclosed and compact, which makes for a very exciting atmosphere.

 History

Bicycles were first developed in the mid-18th century and quickly became a popular form of transport, although the early designs, with a huge front wheel, were extremely difficult to control. In 1885, the first modern bicycle with a chain and gearing that allowed the wheels to be of equal size appeared.

Professional cycling is now the most popular summer sport in continental Europe. The biggest events are stage road races that take place over a number of weeks and include the Vuelta d'Espana , the Giro D'Italia and the Tour de France.

Cycling was a part of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, with the first road race contested over the marathon course. It is one of the few sports that has been a part of every modern Olympics, although there have been many changes in the programme throughout the years.

Cycling was one of the original six sports at the 1st Asian Games in New Delhi in 1950. It was dropped for the second in Manila in 1954, but reappeared in Tokyo in 1958.

 Rules

Road:

Road race: An individual road race over a 239km course (120km for women), with the competitors starting at the same time and racing together.

Individual time trial: An individual road race over a 46.8km course (31.2 km for women) with competitors starting at 90 second intervals (making drafting near impossible). The rider with the fastest time wins.

Team time trial: The same as the individual time trial but contested by teams who work together by sharing the lead to maximise the drafting effect.

Track:

Time trial: Riders compete alone on the track. From a standing start they have to ride four laps (1,000m) for men and two laps (500m) for women. The rider with the fastest time wins.

Sprint: Riders compete against one opponent over three laps (750m), with only the last 200m timed. The best of three races wins. Riders draw lots for who "leads-out" (starts in front) and swap positions for the second race, with another draw taking place if a deciding third race is required.

Riders must cycle at a minimum of walking pace for the first lap, and are not allowed to stand still for more than three minutes on the second lap. On the final lap, blocking an opponent by moving into their lane is not allowed. Sprint competitions use a knock-out format, with a final to decide gold and silver, and a play-off between the losing semi-finalists for bronze.

Team sprint: A sprint race over 750m contested by teams of three, with the teams starting at opposite ends of the track. One rider from each team drops out after each lap, leaving the remaining rider to race for the finish. The first round is run against the clock, with the fastest eight teams going through to a knock-out competition. This race is also known as the "Olympic Sprint".

Individual pursuit: A head-to-head race over 16 laps (4km) for the men and 12 laps (3km) for the women. Riders start from opposite ends of the track and can win by either catching their opponent, or simply finishing in a faster time. The first round is run against the clock, with the fastest four teams going through to a knockout competition.

Team pursuit: A pursuit race is contested by teams of four. The team's position is taken by the front wheel of the third rider on the track, so only three riders have to finish the 16 laps. The first round is run against the clock, with the fastest eight teams going through to a knock-out competition.

Points race: One rider from each country enters this 160-lap (40km) race, with all competitors starting at the same time. Riders aim to gain a lap on the field. There are also a total of 20 sprints (one every eighth lap) where the first four riders over the line win points.

Five points are awarded for first, three points for second, two points for third and one point for fourth. Riders who gain a lap are considered to join at the back of the field again, so they do not automatically win the sprints. In the final standings, gaining a lap is more important than the points total, which is normally used as a tiebreaker between several riders.

Madison: A points race contested by teams of two riders on a "tag team" basis. Only one rider at a time is active and able to score points at any given time, the other usually rests by circling the top of the track at low speed.

Riders swap over by touching hands. Riders usually grip hands, with the active rider quickly pulling the inactive rider forward to give him a speed advantage when he becomes active.

Keirin: An eight lap (2km) race contested by up to eight riders, who draft behind a pacing motorcycle (known as a derny) for the first five-and-a-half laps. The derny gradually increases speed from 25km/h to 45km/h. When the derny pulls off the track, the riders race each other for the final two and a half laps.

 Dimension





 Cycling in Pakistan

After the creation of Pakistan, the first National Cycling Championship was held in 1948 at the time of Pakistan's first Olympic Games at Karachi which were declared open by Quaid-i- Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Aftab Farrukh, Wazir Ali and Naqi Mallick emerged as first national champions in sprint and time trials. G.H.Baloch, A.R.Baloch, Salim Farooqi, Merai Din, Mohammad Ashiq and Mohammad Hafeez in due course of time became the national champions.

Cycling has not been able to make much progress because there is only one velodrome, constructed near the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore many years ago, which too is not in proper shape. This hampers in organising the sprint and time trial events. However, much headway has been made in the road race cycling. The most heartening feature is the 'Tour de Pakistan" cycle race, which is held every year. The participants pedal their way from Quetta to Peshawar. The cyclists like Masood Sadiq, Nusrat Khan, Muhammad Shafique Cheema have emerged on the national scene through these races. The current winners of Tour de Pakistan are Haroon Rashid and Muhammad Zahid Gulfam.

The current National Champions are Dilsher Ali and Zulfiqar Ali. In the 1st SAARC Cycling Championship held in Colombo (Sri Lanka) in 1999. Haroon Rashid and Dilsher Ali won Gold Medal and Silver Medal respectively. This was the first Gold Medal in international competition.

One of the national level cycling events is the Champion of Hills Cycle Race, from Rawalpindi to Murree (Hilly Track), which is our regular feature, Murad Ali is the three-time winner of this event.

In compliance with the directive of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) / NOC Pakistan. Women Cycling has been introduced in Pakistan. With the passage of time. Women Cycling has achieved encouraging results and two National Championships have so far been organized National Women Cycling Championship is organized regularly and Miss Raheela Bano has emerged on the national scene through this championship. Raheela Bano and Misbah Mushtaq are the best Women Rider, who have shown outstanding performance in the 1st Indo - Pak Punjab Games held at Patiala (India) from 5th to 11th December, 2004.