Saturday 09 August 2008 at 12h12

On a 245 kilometers track - 60 flat kilometers followed by 12 climbs and descents and with the last kilometer in a climb as well (8 to 10%) - Beijing today organised the road cycling race of the Olympic Games 2008. The riders passed the Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China.

Part of the track was formed by a 24 km circuit which the riders did 7 times.

143 riders from no less than 55 countries started this morning at 11AM local time and the Spanish and Italian teams were the big favourites.
Alejandro Valverde
The Spanish team in Beijing was formed by the two last winners of the Tour de France, Carlos Sastre and Alberto Contador, but also by the green jersey of the last Tour de France, Oscar Freire and Samuel Sanchez.
The biggest favourite in the Spanish team however was Alejandro Valverde who already won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Dauphiné Libéré and the Clasica San Sebastian.

With title defender Paolo Bettini and Davide Rebellin (who celebrated his 37th birthday today), the Italian team also had a chance to win the gold medal ...

This race was done under circumstances the riders are not really used to: a 34°C temperature and lots of air pollution. That's why the organisation installed a huge shower in one of the big bends on the circuit where the riders could get some refreshment!

This was not enough for all riders and among those who didn't really have a chance to win the race many of them quit the race before it finished.

After a few escapes which have all been taken back by the pack at around 40 kilometers from the finish, the Spanish team set the pace ... especially Carlos Sastre and Alberto Contador turned the pack into a long line of riders in which some of them could not keep up with the speed until Contador abandonned himself ... he did his work and not having many race kilometers in his legs he preferred waving to his team mates and stop.

At 15 kilometers from the finish a group formed by Andy Schleck (Luxembourg), Alexandre Kolobnev (Russia), Michael Rogers (Australia), Samuel Sanchez (Spain) and Davide Rebellin (Italy) escaped from the pack. At the end it was thus not the big favourite Alejandro Valverde, but a Spanish rider anyway, Samuel Sanchez, who won the gold medal of these Olympic Games!

Samuel Sanchez Samuel Sanchez

1. Samuel Sanchez (Spain)
2. Davide Rebellin (Italy)
3. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Cycling general (except Tour de France) | Olympic Games


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