Is cycling the toughest sport?

Anyone who’s raced a bike knows that cycling can be cruelly hard, but how does it stack up against other gruelling sports? Do we have a valid claim to be competing in the toughest of them all? Dave Nash tests the contention

(Image credit: Watson)

It’s an argument that has vexed sports fans practically since our prehistoric ancestors first took it upon themselves to test their hunting and fighting skills against one another: which sport is the toughest?

There are many physically and mentally demanding sports that have strong claims to the throne: rugby, ice hockey, boxing and long-distance running are just some that spring to mind. Can road cycling offer a convincing argument to be a contender to the title?

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).