London Spy

Sport guide: Cycling

London Spy

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Cycling is one of only five sports to have featured at every Olympics, but the modern contests bear little resemblance to the first.

In 1896 the six events ranged from a time trial over 333 and a third metres to a 12-hour race in which the only two cyclists to finish completed more than 300km. The sole cycling event at the 1912 Games in Stockholm was a time trial over 315km, which remains the longest race in the sport's history at the Olympics.

New events have been introduced, including the Madison, Keirin, and BMX, and some have been discarded, including tandem races and the demonstration sport of bicycle polo.

The schedule for London will feature BMX, mountain bike and road events for men and women. The track programme includes five events each for men and women — the sprint, team sprint, team pursuit, Keirin and Omnium.

In the Keirin, riders follow a pacing motorcycle at the beginning of the race and then sprint for the finish line. In the Omnium, which is new to the schedule, riders are awarded points for their performances across six disciplines. The winner is the rider with the lowest total.

France, who won four golds at the first Games, still lead the cycling medal table but there have been noteworthy performances by other nations.

Italy won five out of six golds as hosts in 1960; Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel won three gold medals in Sydney and a fourth at Athens 2004; and Great Britain's haul of 14 cycling medals in Beijing included eight golds.

In those Games, Bradley Wiggins won two golds to become the most successful man in Olympic cycling history, while Chris Hoy won three, becoming the most successful British performer at a single Games since the swimmer Henry Taylor 100 years before - earning a knighthood along the way.



1. Joris Daudet  (France)

2. Sam Willoughby           (Australia)

3. Maris Strombergs       (Latvia)

4. Marc Willers  (New Zealand)

5. Moana Moo Caille       (France)

6. Connor Fields                (United States)

7. Donny Robinson          (United States)

8. Mike Day        (United States)


1. Magalie Pottier            (France)

2. Sarah Walker (New Zealand)

3. Eva Ailloud     (France)

4. Mariana Pajon              (Colombia)

5. Arielle Martin                (United States)

6. Romana Labounková (Czech Republic)

7. Alise Post        (United States)

8. Shanaze Reade            (Great Britain)


1. Nino Schurter               (Switzerland)

2. Jaroslav Kulhavý          (Czech Republic)

3. Julien Absalon              (France)

4. José Antonio Hermida               (Spain)

5. Burry Stander               (South Africa)

6. Florian Vogel (Switzerland)

7. Marco Fontana             (Italy)

8. Jean Christophe Péraud           (France)


1. Catherine Pendrel      (Canada)

2. Maja Wloszczowska   (Poland)

3. Irina Kalentieva            (Russia)

4. Julie Bresset  (France)

5. Eva Lechner   (Italy)

6. Willow Rockwell           (United States)

7. Lene Byberg  (Norway)

8. Sabine Spitz   (Germany)

MEN'S ROAD RACE         

1. Philippe Gilbert            (Belgium)

2. Tom Boonen (Belgium)

3. Fabian Cancellara        (Switzerland)

4. Joaquim Rodríguez     (Spain)

5. Matthew Goss             (Australia)

6. Alessandro Ballan        (Italy)

7. Thor Hushovd               (Norway)

8. Matti Breschel              (Denmark)


1. Marianne Vos               (Netherlands)

2. Giorgia Bronzini            (Italy)

3. Emma Johansson        (Sweden)

4. Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)

5. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg                (Germany)

6. Tatiana Guderzo          (Italy)

7. Kirsten Wild   (Netherlands)

8. Judith Arndt  (Germany)


1. Fabian Cancellara        (Switzerland)

2. Tony Martin   (Germany)

3. Bradley Wiggins           (Great Britain)

4. Geraint Thomas           (Great Britain)

5. Cadel Evans   (Australia)

6. Alex Rasmussen          (Denmark)

7. Marco Pinotti                (Italy)

8. Gustav Larsson             (Sweden)


1. Judith Arndt  (Germany)

2. Linda Villumsen            (New Zealand)

3. Emma Pooley                (Great Britain)

4. Kristin Armstrong        (United States)

5. Amber Neben              (United States)

6. Tara Whitten (Canada)

7. Noemi Cantele             (Italy)

8. Christiane Soeder       (Austria)


1. Chris Hoy        (Great Britain)

2. Maximilian Levy           (Germany)

3. Teun Mulder (Netherlands)

4. Azizul Hasni Awang     (Malaysia)

5. François Pervis             (France)

6. Shane Perkins               (Australia)

7. Kazunari Watanabe    (Japan)

8. Simon Van Velthooven             (New Zealand)

TRACK: MEN'S OMNIUM             

1. Zach Bell          (Canada)

2. Glenn O'Shea                (Australia)

3. Shane Archbold           (New Zealand)

4. Ed Clancy        (Great Britain)

5. Lasse Hansen                (Denmark)

6. Juan Esteban Arango (Colombia)

7. Gijs Van Hoecke          (Belgium)

8. Cho Ho-Sung (Korea)


1. Jason Kenny  (Great Britain)

2. Grégory Baugé             (France)

3. Shane Perkins               (Australia)

4. Maximilian Levy           (Germany)

5. Azizul Hasni Awang     (Malaysia)

6. Zhang Lei        (China)

7. Denis Dmitriev              (Russia)

8. Teun Mulder (Netherlands)


1. Australia          (Australia)

2. Great Britain  (Great Britain)

3. New Zealand (New Zealand)

4. Russia               (Russia)

5. Denmark         (Denmark)

6. Spain                (Spain)

7. Colombia        (Colombia)

8. Netherlands  (Netherlands)


1. France              (France)

2. Germany        (Germany)

3. Australia          (Australia)

4. Great Britain  (Great Britain)

5. New Zealand (New Zealand)

6. China                (China)

7. Russia               (Russia)

8. Japan                (Japan)


1. Anna Meares                (Australia)

2. Guo Shuang   (China)

3. Clara Sanchez                (France)

4. Simona Krupeckaite   (Lithuania)

5. Ekaterina Gnidenko   (Russia)

6. Olga Panarina                (Belarus)

7. Kristina Vogel                (Germany)

8. Victoria Pendleton      (Great Britain)


1. Tara Whitten (Canada)

2. Sarah Hammer             (United States)

3. Laura Trott     (Great Britain)

4. Annette Edmondson (Australia)

5. Kirsten Wild   (Netherlands)

6. Leire Olaberría              (Spain)

7. Malgorzata Wojtyra   (Poland)

8. Li Huang          (China)


1. Victoria Pendleton      (Great Britain)

2. Simona Krupeckaite   (Lithuania)

3. Anna Meares                (Australia)

4. Guo Shuang   (China)

5. Lyubov Shulyka            (Ukraine)

6. Willy Kanis      (Netherlands)

7. Kristina Vogel                (Germany)

8. Olga Panarina                (Belarus)


1. Great Britain  (Great Britain)

2. Australia          (Australia)

3. New Zealand (New Zealand)

4. United States                (United States)

5. Canada            (Canada)

6. Netherlands  (Netherlands)

7. Germany        (Germany)

8. Ukraine           (Ukraine)


1. Australia          (Australia)

2. China                (China)

3. Great Britain  (Great Britain)

4. Germany        (Germany)

5. Lithuania         (Lithuania)

6. France              (France)

7. Netherlands  (Netherlands)

8. Ukraine           (Ukraine)

The BMX races are held on a short outdoor track with the riders starting on an eight-metre-high ramp. The course is built up with jumps, bumps and tightly banked corners. Following individual time trial seeding rounds for the 32 men and 16 women, riders in the women’s event advance directly to the semi-finals while the men’s event continues with the quarter-finals which are held over five races. Eight riders compete in each heat with each race lasting around 40 seconds. Points are awarded according to places and the top two riders from the first three races in each quarter-final qualify for the semi-finals. The groups (now six riders in each) race twice more and the top two riders from each group advance to the semi-finals.

From here the semi-finals in both the men’s and women’s events follow a three-run format as the top four riders from each semi-final advance to the final run when the medals are decided over one run. 50 men and 30 women start together in the Mountain Bike competition and must complete a set number of laps of the course which includes 172 metres of climbing per lap. The races last around one hour and 45 minutes for both men and women.

145 riders will take part in the 250km men's road and 67 women in their 140km event. The difference between the two routes is the number of laps of Box Hill that riders complete – nine in the men’s race and two in the women’s. The Time Trial is 29km for women and 44km for men with both events held over a single lap. The riders start 90 seconds apart and the order of starters is seeded so that the favoured riders start later.

There are five track events for both men and women. The Sprint consists of a series of three-lap races with riders racing head-to-head. The event starts with a 200m time trial to determine the seedings for the first round. From then on the competition consists of a series of heats and repechages, culminating in quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. The Keirin features up to seven riders sprinting for victory after following a pacing motorcycle for five and a half of the eight-lap race. The event starts with heats (with repechages), with the best 12 riders progressing to the second round. The top six riders go through from the second round to the final. The team sprint is a time trial over three laps for men and two laps for women. The fastest eight three-man teams from the qualifying round go head-to-head in the quarter-finals with the two teams with the fastest times competing for gold and the next quickest two teams going head to head for bronze. The team pursuit is held over 16 laps for men and 12 laps for women and starts with a qualifying round. The four-man teams (three for women) are seeded in the first round according to their qualifying times and the winners of the two heats between the top four teams advance to the finals. The Omnium features individual riders competing against each other across six different disciplines, Flying lap (a race against the clock), Points race (30km for men, 20km for women where riders score points for sprints which occur every 10 laps and for lapping the field), Elimination race (a bunch race with an intermediate sprint every two laps with the last rider each time eliminated), Individual pursuit: (4km for men, 3km for women): two riders start at opposite sides of the track and race against the clock, Scratch race (16km for men, 10km women  and the first rider to cross the line wins) and Time trial (1km for men, 500m for women and the fastest time wins). In each event the winner gets one point, the second placed rider gets two points, the third three points, and so on. At the end of all six events the rider with the lowest total score is the winner.


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