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Fossil BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work? (32) RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work? 14 May 15

There is no one thing called a "bicycle Race". Like cricket, there are several different formats and some may even be combined, as in the Tour de France and other similar major events.

Firstly - as has been noted already - there is the team championship, where teams of riders compete to deliver one rider across the finish line in front of everyone else. The shape of this type of racing is dictated by the physics of riding a bike at high speed. Riders working as a group can almost always achieve a higher average speed than a lone rider. So tactics come into play - if a small group can get away from the main bunch (the peloton), they will often cooperate temporarily, even if they come from different teams, until they get near to the stage finish, when all bets are off.

And then there are the special-interest races that happen over shorter distances within the main race - so the Tour de France includes an individual time-trial stage, when riders ride as fast as they can individually - no teams - over a set distance, points going to the fastest, of course.

And also within the main race, riders may compete in sprints over a short distance, through a village, or up a hill, for cash and/or points prizes. The hill-climbers compete for the King of the Mountains prize. Usually, though not always, good hill climbers aren't good sprinters, so there is logic in having a separate prize for them.

And this is road-racing. There are of course many different formats for races that take place in velodromes on a special banked track. Better not get into them or I'll be here all day.

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