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The peloton sets out from the centre of Beijing, passing the imposing portrait of Chairman Mao at Tiananmen Square

Dwarfed by the spectacular countryside and architecture, there was no mistaking the fact this was something very different to the sort of scenery the professional riders usually pass

This is the Olympics. The five rings, a world famous logo, reminds the riders what is at stake

The Badaling section of the Great Wall is the most visited by tourists

Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre worked selflessly for his Spanish team. With Alberto Contador, eventual winner Samuel Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde at the fore, the Spanish continued their remarkable summer of sport following victory at Wimbledon for Rafael Nadal, the European Championships football tournament and the Tour. Shame their motor racing driver is having a shocker.

Joy for Sanchez. Olympic gold is his. He can call himself defending champion for four years ? but he?ll be 34 in London. Will he even be there? Even if he is, we?re already predicting Mark Cavendish will win in four years? time.

The sprint finish. Sanchez ahead of Davide Rebellin, the Italian who was dreaming of victory on his 37th birthday, and Fabian Cancellara, whose brilliant ride set up the sensational finale.

There?s daylight between Sanchez and the rest. And it looks as if he can scarcely believe it.

Gold, silver and bronze. The podium, from left: Rebellin with silver, Sanchez with gold and Cancellara with bronze. Medals they can treasure the rest of their lives.

OLYMPIC GAMES 2008: NEWS

Positive test for cyclist at Olympic Games

Bettini chasing second Olympic gold

Romero poses nude for ad

British quartet eyeing new world record

As Olympics approach two new drugs emerge

OLYMPIC GAMES 2008: ROAD

Analysis: women’s road race

Gold for Nicole Cooke in Women?s road race

Reaction: It?s a dream to win Gold, says Cooke

Women’s Olympic road race picture special

Sanchez gives Spain gold in thrilling men?s road race

Who is Samuel Sanchez?

Tactical analysis: Reading the men?s Olympic road race

British riders suffer in hot and humid Olympic road race

Rebellin misses out on golden birthday

Brailsford confident ahead of women?s road race

OLYMPIC GAMES 2008: GUIDE

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