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Cycling fans in for an Olympic treat

26 July, 2012

The London 2012 Olympic Games begin with what is predicted to be a jaw-dropping opening ceremony on Friday, 27 July (6am Saturday morning Eastern Standard Time for us), and cycling will dominate the sporting headlines soon after.

The Men’s Road Race is scheduled for Saturday, 28 July (7pmEST), with the Women’s Road Race on Sunday, 29 July (9pmEST).

Both events will start and end in spectacular fashion at The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, with the men riding 250km, the women 140km.

Early thoughts are that the route will favour the sprinters, and in a test event with 150 riders last August, Britain’s Mark Cavendish won the men’s event in a sprint finish.

The road Time Trial events for men and women are both on Monday, 30 July, with the women’s 29km event starting at 9.30pmEST, and the men’s 44km event starting at 11.15pmEST.

There are 10 track cycling gold medals up for grabs; five for the women, five for the men.

Team Sprint: Thursday, 2 August. Two teams of three (teams of two for women) race against each other, starting on opposite sides of the track. Each cyclist must lead for one lap. Three laps for men, two for women, with the first team to cross the finish line the winner.

Team Pursuit: Men’s event August 2-3 (Thursday-Friday). Women’s event August 3-4 (Friday-Saturday). Two opposing teams start on either side of the track. The winner is the team who either catches the other team, or records the fastest time (4km for men with four riders, 3km for women with three riders).

Keiran: Women’s event Friday, August 3. Men’s event Tuesday, August 7. A race over eight laps. Riders follow a motorbike (derny) going at 50km/h (45km/h in the women’s race).  With 2.5 laps left to go the pacer pulls off and the riders sprint for the finish.

Omnium: Men’s event August 6-7 (Saturday-Sunday). Women’s event August 8-9 (Monday-Tuesday). Six events, a flying lap against the clock, a points race (30km for men, 20km for women), an elimination race where the last rider is kicked out after every two laps, an individual pursuit (4,000m for men, 3,000m for women), a scratch race where first over the line wins (16km for men, 10km for women) and a time trial (1km for men, 500m for women). In each event, cyclists gets points, starting with the winner, who gets one point, second getting two points, etc. The winner of the overall competition is the cyclist with the lowest total score.

Sprint: Men’s event August 4-6 (Saturday-Monday). Women’s event August 5-7 (Sunday-Tuesday). The sprint is a three-lap race between two riders.

The BMX race for gold is held on a 470m outdoor track (430m for women) on Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 August.

The mass-start Mountain Biking race is on Saturday, 11 August (9.30pm EST) for the women’s event, and Sunday, 12 August (10.30pm EST) for the men.

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