The last two cycling events of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China – the men’s and women’s cross-country mountain bike races – take place on Saturday, August 23.

Having been postponed from Friday due to bad weather, the women now set off on Saturday morning ahead of the men. In front of them will be a compact 4.5km circuit based around the Laoshan Mountain, near the velodrome. The course includes both natural and man-made obstacles that will test the riders to the full.

Our colleagues over at Mountain Bike Rider magazine have ridden the course and presented a circuit assessment with photos.

Team Great Britain are represented in the men’s event by Oli Beckingsale and Liam Killeen (pictured). Julien Absalon (France) is the defending Olympic champion and will be difficult to beat. Current World Champ Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) is likely to be Absalon’s main challenger.

Having placed fourth in the 2008 MTB World Championships in Italy, Killeen is an outside bet for a medal. It has been his long-term aim to win a medal at the 2008 Games and on his day is a very strong rider, and the course certainly suits him.

GB has no representative in the women’s event having failed to qualify for a place – the only cycling event not to have a British rider in attendance. Defending Olympic champ Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Norway), 2008 World Champ Marie-Helene Premont (Canada) and Margarita Fullana (Spain) are the riders to watch. In total, 30 women and 50 men are on the start lists.

GREAT BRITAIN’S RIDERS
Name: Oliver Beckingsale

Age: 32
From: Backwell, Somerset
Titles held: 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 British National Mountain Biking Champion
Full rider profile>>

Name: Liam Killeen
Age: 26
From: Malvern
Titles held: 2003 European Cup; 2003 UK National Points series; 2006 Commonwealth Champion; 2006 British National Series Champion
Full rider profile>>

OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS
2004 Men’s Olympic champion: Julien Absalon (Fra)
2004 Women’s Olympic champion: Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor)

WORLD CHAMPIONS
2008 Men’s World champion: Christoph Sauser (Sui)
2008 Women’s World champion: Marie-Helene Premont (Can)

MTB SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 23, 2008
8-10.15am (BST): Women’s cross-country MTB
TBC: Men’s cross-country MTB

EXTERNAL LINKS
Official Beijing 2008 MTB homepage

OLYMPIC GAMES 2008: TRACK

Track day five in pictures
Track day five summary
Wiggins and Cav miss out in Madison
Gold for Hoy and Pendleton, silver for Kenny
Track day four in pictures
Preview: Day five at the Laoshan
Brad on Cav: He’s like a schoolkid he’s so up for it
Day four as it happened: Team pursuit gold and another world record
Day three summary: Gold for Romero. Pendleton, Hoy in charge in sprints. Kenny the revelation
From rower to cyclist: Romero takes an emotional gold
Brits smash world team pursuit record in round one
Tough day for the Dutch
Preview: Monday at the Laoshan
Day two in pictures
Sunday’s action as it happened
Preview: Sunday at the Laoshan
Day two at the track: Summary of the action
Hoy and Edgar clean up in the Keirin
Wiggins gets pursuit gold, Burke wins bronze
Newton storms to bronze in points race
Saturday’s action as it happened: Two gold, a silver and two bronze for Britain
Blog: Life in Laoshan
Day one in pictures
Brits blast to team sprint gold
Day one at the track: Summary of the action
Friday’s action as it happened: Gold for team sprint trio; Wiggins, Houvenaghel and Romero well in control
Burke blasts to new individual pursuit PB
British track stars raring to go
What makes the Laoshan such a challenge
Picture special: CW takes you inside the Laoshan velodrome
Saturday’s preview
Friday’s preview
Can these legs make an Olympic champion?
Cavendish unlikely to ride individual pursuit
How many medals will Britain’s riders win?

OLYMPIC GAMES 2008: NEWS

Cooke and Thomas to get heroes’ welcome in Wales
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
Beijing Blog
Beijing Blog 2
Beijing Blog 3

OLYMPIC GAMES 2008: ROAD

Picture special: Women’s time trial
Cancellara wins men’s time trial gold
Men’s time trial reaction: Steve Cummings on his ride
Women’s time trial reaction: I feel fantastic, says Pooley
Pooley wins silver in women’s time trial
Cooke’s secret was the skinsuit
What the papers say… about Nicole Cooke
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

Olympic Games 2008 homepage>>
Olympics: latest news>>
Olympics cycling results>>
Cycling event schedule>>
Great Britain rider profiles>>
Cycling event guide>>
Photo gallery>>
Every British cycling medal ever won at the Olympic Games
From paupers to kings: The lottery funded revolution>>
Track results at the Worlds and Olympics 2004-2008