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Cycling Mountain Bike

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Women’s events



In the 1970s, tough new bikes that relished rough terrain were developed and mountain biking was born. The sport started in California but its popularity soon spread.

A sport is born

In the 1970s, mountain biking developed as a fringe sport in California. Taking a bike off-road was nothing new but the development of a new bike that relished such terrain was; these bikes had fatter tyres, rapid-shift gears, drum brakes and ground-breaking suspension. These bikes gave thrill seeking cyclists a much more freedom and the sport of mountain biking was born.

Repack Downhill Race

The members of the Velo Club Mount Tamalpais in California generally receive the credit for establishing mountain biking as a sport. They invented the Repack Downhill race, held regularly between 1976 and 1979 just across the famous Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The races attracted riders from near and far, and the media soon started taking an interest.

Olympic history

The first national mountain bike championships were held in 1983 in the USA. But the sport quickly grew in popularity in Europe and Australia. The first mountain bike World Championships, recognised by the International Cycling Union (UCI), were organised in 1990. Olympic recognition followed and mountain biking made its debut as an Olympic discipline at the Atlanta Games in 1996, with a cross-country event for men and women. The programme has remained unchanged ever since.
Among the big names in this discipline is France’s Julien Absalon, a two-time gold-medal winner - in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing.

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Gallery

Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men
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Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men

Nino Schurter of Switzerland celebrates winning gold during the Men's Cross-Country on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mountain Bike Centre on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men
Image Alt Text

Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men

Nino Schurter of Switzerland competes during the Men's Cross-Country on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mountain Bike Centre on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men
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Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men

(L-R) Jaroslav Kulhavy of Czech Republic, silver, Nino Schurter of Switzerland, gold, and Carlos Coloma Nicolas of Spain, bronze, celebrate after the Men's Cross-Country on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mountain Bike Centre on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men
Image Alt Text

Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men

Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic rides during the Men's Cross-Country on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mountain Bike Centre on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men
Image Alt Text

Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men

Nino Schurter of Switzerland celebrates winning gold during the Men's Cross-Country on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mountain Bike Centre on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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Cycling Mountain Bike - Men - Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Highlights of the Cycling Mountain Bike - Men on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mountain Bike Centre on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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