CYCLING IS A TEAM SPORT
It is important to understand that cycling is a team sport; each member of the team plays a vital role. Eight-person teams are comprised of a leader, sprinters, climbers and domestiques. There are also director sportifs (coaches), managers, mechanics, massage therapists and nutritionists who help the teams perform their best. Sometimes, the cyclists’ roles will change due to injury or illness. For example, if one of the lead riders gets hurt in a crash, a climber may have to step in and fill the role. Once you understand the intricate nature of cycling, the sport becomes more interesting to watch.
PARTS OF A RACE
The cyclist will race every day during the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. The race includes 9 stages over nine days. Stage 6 is an Individual Time Trial in Solvang, where each rider will race against the clock for 15 miles. The other 8 stages travel from point A to point B and are called road races. The cyclist with the lowest overall cumulative time at the end of the nine days of racing will be declared the Overall General Classification winner. Throughout the race, the leader in the Overall Classification will be noticeable in the Amgen Leader Jersey.
A sprint line is a race within a race. A sprint line is a designated line where the racers act like it is the finish line and pedal as fast as they can to be the first rider across that line. The first three riders to cross that line get bonus points and sometimes, win special prizes. Each day, the rider with the most sprint points will earn the Sprint Jersey.
KING OF THE MOUNTAIN
King of the Mountain (KOM) lines are located on top of mountain climbs instead of flat roads like the sprint lines. The first three cyclists to reach the top of a mountain will win bonus points toward the King of the Mountain Jersey.