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The history of professional road cycling

Histoire du cyclisme sur route professionnel

Jean-François Mignot ()

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Abstract: Why did cycling become professional as early as the late 19th century, while other sports (such as rugby) and other sport events (such as the Olympic Games) remained amateur until the 1980s? Why are the organizers of the most important cycling races private companies? To what extent have bicycle races changed since the late 19th century? And how does cycling reflect long-term economic changes? The history of professional road cycling helps to answer these questions and to understand many related phenomena. This chapter provides a long-term historical perspective on (1) professional road cycling’s economic agents, i.e. the public, race organizers, team sponsors and riders, and the relationships among them; (2) cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union; and (3) professional cycling’s final product, i.e. the show of bicycle races. The chapter focuses more specifically on the history of male professional road cycling in Western Europe since the late-19th century. It is founded on both an analysis of quantitative time series of the most important races and a review of the existing literature on the history of professional cycling, whether economic history, institutional history, cultural history or sport history.

Keywords: Sports History; Cycling; Europe; Tour de France; Giro d'Italia; Vuelta a Espana; Cycling Race; International Cycling Union (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-spo and nep-tre
Date: 2016
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01326719
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Published in The Economics of Professional Road Cycling, pp.7-31, 2016, 978-3-319-22312-4. <10.1007/978-3-319-22312-4>.

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