Cycling – Road

Road Cycling is one of four disciplines in the Olympic sport of Cycling.

Did you know?

Canada’s Clara Hughes is one of only four people to have won medals at the Summer Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games. In Atlanta 1996, she took Bronze in the Individual Road Race and Individual Time Trial, while in Salt Lake City 2002 she won Bronze in the 5000m Speed Skating. The first Olympic Games Road Race in 1896 was from Athens to Marathon, and back again. Only six riders took part.
There will be over 100 support vehicles out on the course during the Road Cycling competition.

Key facts

Venue: The Mall (Road Race); Hampton Court (Time Trial)
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Wednesday 1 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 4 (2 men, 2 women)
Athletes:  approximately 277 (185 men, 92 women)

Cycling: a history of the sport

The bicycle was invented as a means of transport in the early 1800s. It did not take long for people to start racing on their bikes. The first official race – a two-kilometre (1.25 mile) event in Paris – was held in 1868.

For more information on the history of the sport, visit the IOC website.

Road Cycling at the Olympic Games

Road and Track Cycling have been part of the Olympic programme since the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. Women first competed in the Road Race at the Los Angeles 1984 Games.

How the competition runs

On the road there are two events: Road Race and Time Trial.

The Road Race is approximately 240km (150 miles) for men and 130km (80 miles) for women. The competitors all start together and the first past the line is the winner. At London 2012, the Road Races will start and finish at The Mall in central London. The route will take riders through six London boroughs – Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, and Kingston upon Thames – before heading into Surrey and through the districts of Elmbridge, Reigate and Banstead, Guildford, Woking and Mole Valley.

The Time Trial is against the clock over a shorter distance: riders start 90 seconds apart and whoever completes the course fastest wins. The Time Trial will take place at Hampton Court.

Jargon buster

  • Attack: A sudden acceleration to move ahead of another rider or group of riders.
  • Break/breakaway: A rider or group of riders that has left the main group behind.
  • Feeding station / zone: Terms for areas where riders in Mountain Bike or Road Races can pick up both food and liquid refreshments.
  • Hook: To suddenly move one’s back wheel to the side, forcing the following rider to slow down to avoid running into it.
  • Peloton: The main group of riders; also called the pack, bunch or field.

Get involved

Cycling is a great way to keep fit, as well as an environmentally-friendly means of transport.

British Cycling’s club development programme, called Go-Ride, is aimed at encouraging clubs to help young cyclists enjoy their cycling in a safe, off-road environment.

For more information, see British Cycling and Union Cycliste Internationale.

Nicole Cooke of Great Britain celebrates as she approaches the finish line at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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