Published on July 27th, 2012 | by Sal0
Mountain Biking at the Olympics
From it’s Californian roots in the 1970s, mountain biking is now immensely popular worldwide and is full of challenges in the form of tricky climbs and descents and rough terrain. Here’s our guide to the rocking and rolling discipline of mountain biking at the Olympics.
Saturday 11th August – Women’s Mountain Bike
Sunday 12th August – Men’s Mountain Bike
Hadleigh Farm, Essex. Each race starts with a loop of 441m and is 4.7km long with 172m of elevation change each lap.
50 men & 30 women (each country is limited to 3 men and 2 women) competing.
Mountain bikes need to be fast and light over rocky terrain but stable and sturdy to handle quick descents. It’s more than likely the Olympics will be won by a 29er mountain bike due to their performance benefits and the gradients at Hadleigh farm. However, we might see some of the new 650b wheelsets for smaller riders and female categories.
Races last between 90 minutes and 105 minutes with riders starting together, having been seeded according to world ranking, to complete a set number of laps.
Master or disaster
Stamina, a good attention span and nerves of steel are keys to success. Crashes could mean the end of the race and punctures and technical problems must be repaired by the rider (outside assistance can only be given in dedicated assistance zones).
One to watch
Four-time British men’s champion Liam Killeen will be looking to better his 5th place 2008 Beijing result but he’ll have his work cut out against France’s Julien Absalon who is aiming for a hat-trick at London 2012 following his golds in 2004 and 2008.