Mountain biking is a relatively new sport that emerged in the 1970s, when some cyclists wanted to take their bikes off-road and explore new trails. In the 1990s, the first mountain bikes that could withstand impacts experienced during riding were created. Mountain biking subsequently took off, became a sport in its own right and began to take shape. The first informal competitions took place in the 1980s before the first official World Championships were held in the 1990s.
Brief overview of the rules
There are two cross-country mountain biking events, one for women and one for men. Riders set off from the same starting line and contest multiple laps around a loop on mountainous, rough terrain that tests their technique, endurance and stamina.
Races feature a mass start and, in general, multiple laps. Riders take one to two hours to complete an intense course full of twists and turns, covering tens of kilometres during the event.
Mountain biking made its Olympic debut 100 years after track cycling and road cycling, at the Atlanta 1996 Games, with individual races for men and women. In its short Olympic history, France has dominated mountain biking, winning three gold medals in the men’s event and one in the women’s event, as well as one silver and one bronze. Switzerland also has six medals under its belt. Its impressive track record is largely due to Nino Schurter, who has won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal and is a strong favourite for Olympic gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
International federation : Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)
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