Men’s cycling has been an exciting competitive sport for years. If you’re just getting into watching it regularly, you may need to catch up on some of the specifics, such as what the major competitive races are and how they work.
I want to give you a short guide to some of the basics of cycling competitions, so you can understand the importance of some events over others. You will also see a little bit about how the competitions are organized, including who the regulatory body is that judge competitions.
What Is a Grand Tour?
Out of all the professional cycling races, there are three main types: championships, single, and stage races. Single races are those that are a single run from start to finish, with the winners announced at the end of the race. Stage races are those that have multiple legs to the same race This means that one day the cyclists will race in a particular area, but the next day they will race somewhere else. Each stage of a multi-stage race declares a separate winner, with the overall winner declared at the end of all stages.
Championships are held by major cycling bodies, and they consist of a variety of races held throughout the year. As each cyclist competes in a race that is part of a certain championship, they will gain points towards a championship win. There are 4 main championship races.
Out of all of these types of races, the most well-known and prestigious are the Grand Tours. There is a total of 3 Grand Tours, each of which is held on a major European circuit. The 3 Grand Tours are the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and the Giro d’Italia. These Grand Tours are all part of certain championships and provide point towards winning.
Who Regulates Cycling as a Sport?
There is one major regulatory body that heads international cycling. This is the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale). Every professional cycling competition around the world is involved with the UCI, including Grand Tours, major international races, and championships.
Local and Continental Races
Some stage races and single races are hosted as continental or local races. Continental circuits include circuits and teams from around the continent for the competition, while local races focus mainly on circuits within a certain area.
Five circuits are recognized by the UCI. These are the Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania circuits, and each one is a very significant event that contributes points to championships and helps teams to qualify for Grand Tour races later on.
Local races also contribute to a team’s overall performance, although not all will contribute points to each championship. But, local races do help teams to qualify for other, more significant races down the road.
These are the basics that will help you understand a bit more about what is happening when you watch men’s cycling competitions. There is a lot more to know, but much of that knowledge can be learned as you’re watching for yourself!