The Evolution of American Bicycle Racing: The Glorious History of American Cycling and Its Flourishing Future

Overview

Lance Armstrong is a household name the world over. But how could a cyclist from the United States so dominate the world’s most grueling sporting event—an event Americans weren’t even invited to compete in just decades earlier?

In this revolutionary book, Lou Dzierzak explains how key races and landmark events brought American cyclists out of obscurity and made them internationally dominating competitors.

Six-day races, road racing, track ...

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Overview

Lance Armstrong is a household name the world over. But how could a cyclist from the United States so dominate the world’s most grueling sporting event—an event Americans weren’t even invited to compete in just decades earlier?

In this revolutionary book, Lou Dzierzak explains how key races and landmark events brought American cyclists out of obscurity and made them internationally dominating competitors.

Six-day races, road racing, track racing, and legendary cycling performances at home and abroad—the significant events in the history of American cycling come alive within these pages.

•    Discover America’s first bicycle racing superstars. Is Lance Armstrong truly the best of all time? Maybe not.

•    Follow the action at key U.S. and international races that paved the way for sponsorship dollars, American pro teams, and dominating American cyclists like Andy Hampsten, Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, and George Hincapie.

•    Witness nearly a century of drugs, doping, and scandals, from cocaine use during the six-day races in the late1890s, to blood boosting at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, to the scandal-plagued 2006 Tour de France victory
by American Floyd Landis.

•    Look to the future as new U.S. stage races form, Under 23 development teams thrive, and new heroes of American cycling begin to emerge.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762739011
  • Publisher: Falcon Press Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Lou Dzierzak walked away to become a full-time writer after sixteen years planning advertising campaigns for clients like Harley-Davidson, Jolly Time Popcorn, Tony's Pizza, Red Wing Shoe Company, and K2,  His first book, a history of Schwinn bicycles, was published in 2002. Lou is an active cyclist and fan of bicycle racing in all forms.

 

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Read an Excerpt

Americans in the Tour de France

The world's most recognized bicycle race started in 1903. Expect for disruptions cased by world wars, the Tour de France captivated the attention of European bicycle racing enthusiasts.

For decades, America's best racers stayed home. The United States cycling governing bodies downplayed the importance of international racing events and provided little financial or logistic support for the handful of American racers who wanted to test their skills against the best in the world.

Year by year, the legends of the Tour de France grew. For three weeks in July, racing enthusiasts from France, Belgium, Italy and Spain would turn their focus to the flatlands of France and the Alpes and Pyrenees mountains.

The greatest riders of their time raced in the Tour. Two French riders, Jacque Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, won five yellow jerseys. They shared that record with Belgium's Eddy Merckx and Spain's Miguel Indurain.

Seventy-eight years passed before the first American rider entered the Tour. Five more years were needed before an American wore the yellow jersey awarded to the winner of the Tour.

By 2006, thirty three Americans stood with the peloton on the first day. One hundred years after the Tour de France began, an American racer matched the performances of Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, and Indurain. And he would not stop there.

After Lance

For seven years, America's growing interest in professional bicycle racing followed the arc of Lance Armstrong's success at the Tour de France. Television ratings at the Outdoor Life Network soared to record levels and corporations negotiated multi-million dollar endorsement contracts with Armstrong. Even the most casual sports fans debated Armstrong's chances to repeat from year to year.

At the edges of the bright media spotlight, another set of riders prepared to take Armstrong's place when he retired. After long careers supporting Armstrong, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, and Floyd Landis were leaders of their own teams.

As Armstrong's career came to a close, new professional racing teams were formed, a new American stage race was launched, and for the first time in eight years, a new American racer stood on the podium in Paris.

Building the Next Generation of American Racers

If winning the Tour de France is the measure of success for professional bicycle racers, American riders are on top of the world. Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis captured 11 yellow jerseys in the last 20 years. LeMond and Armstrong have retired and Floyd Landis faces an uncertain future, hampered by hip replacement surgery and doping controversy. In their mid-thirties other leading Americans George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Bobby Julich are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.

For amateurs, an Olympic gold medal on the road or track is the ticket to million dollar endorsement deals and professional contracts. Stepping on an Olympic podium requires years of hard work, dedication and financial support.

Where will the next generation of elite American racers come from?

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Table of Contents

1) Introduction 2) Six Day Racing 3) Racing on the Road 4) Coors Classic 5)Olympics 6) Professionals: USPRO Championship/Tour DuPont/Women's Challenge 7) Racing Against the World's Best: World Championships/Pan American Games/Hampsten's Giro 8) Racing on the Dirt: Mountain Bike Racing/BMX Racing 9) After Lance: Discovery Team/Floyd Landis/Tour of California/Tour of Georgia/Toyota United
 

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