Olympic Road Bike Racing for both men and women consists of two events, the Road Race and the Time Trials. The Road Race begins with a mass start for the competitors and simply enough, the first to cross the finish line wins. The Time Trial is based on an individuals time scored against the clock, with riders starting one by one at 90 second intervals. The winner is the individual with the overall fastest time. Road Bike Racing has featured at the Olympic Games since 1896, although some of the original events have been dropped it is now a major event on the Olympic programme. At the Athens 1896 Games a 12 hour race was run and in London in 1908 a 660yd sprint was included. To compete cyclists must be exceptionally fit and have excellent bike handling skills, as they ride at high speeds, in close quarters to other riders. Race courses will typically feature difficult sections, such as steep climbs, fast descents and uneven road surfaces.
The London 2012 Olympic cycling race will start and finish in The Mall, Central London. The gruelling race which is 250km for men and 140km for the women will however travel far beyond the City Centre, reaching parts of Surrey. The riders will pass through Westminster, Kensington, Richmond Park, Twickenham and out to Surrey’s stockbroker belt taking in Weybridge, Dorking and Box Hill. The return journey will give the residents of Leatherhead and Esher an opportunity to see some of the worlds finest cyclists. The event is FREE to spectators and is expected to draw large crowds, it is probably the most easily accessible event for those who want to witness sporting history, but have found tickets hard to come by. Big Screens will allow spectators to watch as the action progresses elsewhere and will cover the Finish in the Mall. The length of the route means everyone who wants to see this Olympic event should see some of the action. The cycling races will kick off the 2012 Games, the Men’s Race on Saturday July 28th is the day after the Opening Ceremony, with the Women’s Race the following day, Sunday 29th July.
Chris Hoy, the four times Olympic Champion seems to be coming back into form, he recently had a commanding victory over David Daniell in the National Individual Sprint. He says he is stronger now than before his stunning performance in Beijing.
Mark Cavendish, recently won the World Road Race Championships in Copenhagen and is the bookie’s favourite for a Gold Medal, although GB coach Shane Sutton disagrees and says London 2012, is a “totally different bike race”.
David Daniell, was feted by GB coach Shane Sutton as the new Hoy a few years ago, the 21 year old is now realising his early potential.
Nicole Cooke, won Gold in Beijing and is keen to defend her Road Race title but is also interested in competing on the track.
Lizzie Armistead, missed Gold by a fraction in the Road Race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games