London 2012 Guide to…Road Cycling

THE Road Cycling events are always extremely popular among sports fans, and this summer should be no different.

And with our very own Mark Cavendish being one of the favourites, road cycling is seen as one of Team GB’s best chances of claiming gold.

  • Dodgy start

Cycling had a stuttering start to the Olympics.

It was one of the sports in Athens at the first modern Games in 1896, but it was dropped from the next three Games, returning in 1912.

  • Road cycling in London

There will be two medals apiece for male and female cyclists this summer – one for the road race and one for the time trial.

A total of 212 cyclists will be competing: 145 men and 67 women.

The road race is 250km for men and 140km for women, and will start and finish in The Mall.

The time trial is over 44km for men and 29km for women, and Hampton Court Palace is the beginning and end for this race.

Each rider starts 90 seconds apart, so if they are caught, it’s curtains so I’d recommend they simply admire the views.

  • Ones to watch

Cavendish is obviously the one to keep your eyes on (providing you’re running alongside him). The ‘Manxman’ is the world’s best sprinter, so no pressure then.

Another Brit, Nicole Cooke won road race gold in Beijing, so a repeat of that would do just nicely.

  • Va Va Voom

France are top of the cycling medals’ table, with a total of 86 medals, including 40 gold.

Italy lie in second place, with Britain in third with an overall tally of 63 medals.

And Finally…

Look out for: crashes at the end of the road race. They’re not inevitable, but if there’s a large amount of riders 500m from the finish line all going for one medal, well, you get the gist.

Not to be confused with: the Tour de France. Yes it’s in the same month, it’s lots of cyclists on a road, and it’s brutal, but there’s no yellow, green or polka-dot jerseys, it’s over in a matter of days and of course it’s in England!

Useless but informative fact: Hampton Court Palace is one of just two surviving palaces which were owned by Henry VIII. (The other is St James’s Palace)

Road cycling in two words: extremely competitive.

The road races and time trials will take place between Saturday 28th July and Wednesday 1st August.

Do you think Cavendish will win gold?

Leave your thoughts below.

Follow me on Twitter: @jonathanl50

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