Published on July 20th, 2012 | by Sal0
Road Cycling at the Olympics
Since the first 87km race at the 1896 Olympics, road cycling has appeared at every Games since 1912, with women competing since 1984. London 2012’s road races are among the largest road cycling events of all time and will draw millions of viewers worldwide. Tactical and traditional, here’s our overview to road cycling at the Olympics.
Saturday 28th July – Men’s Road Race
Sunday 29 July – Women’s Road Race
Wednesday 1 August – Men’s & Women’s Individual Time Trial
Mall and Box Hill Course (from London to Surrey and back) for the Road Race – 250km course for men, 140km for women
Hampton Court Palace (a single lap from London to Surrey and back) for the Time Trials – 44km course for men and 29km for women
145 men & 67 women (each country is limited to five men and four women) competing
Multiple gears, strong but lightweight frames, narrow tyres (typically 23-28mm wide) to reduce rolling friction and drop handlebars to assist with streamlining are all features of road bikes. Racing bikes are as light as possible, stiff and extremely efficient and time trial bikes are all about aerodynamics.
The road race is a straight final with all riders starting together, the first over the finish line being victorious. Time Trial riders start at 90 second intervals with the winner achieving the fastest time over the course.
Master or disaster
Road Cycling is all about tactics, with riders studying the course, judging pace and practicing positioning. Also required are stamina, strength and strong acceleration. Concentration is required to avoid bumps and crashes and lack of endurance skills mean a rider can get left at the back of the pack.
One to watch
There’s a fantastic list of British talent to choose from, but we’ll go with Mark Cavendish who, despite also tackling the Tour de France days before, has all his focus on London 2012.