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Discipline's origin
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Bicycles were first developed in the mid-18th century and have long since been used as a form of transport. Originally, the front wheel was much larger than the rear wheel, and the rider was elevated a great deal, thus making the bike difficult to control and therefore very dangerous. In 1885, J.K. Starley of England devised the more modern bike with a chain and gearing that allowed the wheels to be of equal size. Although bicycle races had been held on the old "penny farthings", the new bikes stimulated the growth of bicycle racing as a sport.

From 1880 to 1900, cycling became immensely popular both in Europe and the United States. The sport was primarily a professional one at that time. The sport continues its grip on the European continent to this day, but bicycle racing ceased to be a popular sport at about the time of the depression in the United States. Only the American Olympic victories at Los Angeles in 1984 and the recent Tour de France exploits of Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong have again stimulated interest in the United States.


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