Olympics 2008 event guide

The Olympic Games are almost here ? and Cycling Weekly will help you plan your viewing of the cycling events.

The first appointment is with the men?s road race, which starts at 4am on Saturday. It?s scheduled to finish at 10.30am and will be shown live in its entirety on BBC?s interactive service available to Freeview or cable and satellite viewers by pressing the red button on the remote control. Likewise, on Sunday, the women?s road race will be live from 7am.

BBC1?s coverage is likely to dip in and out of the cycling.

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Set the alarm for: 3.50am

Men?s road race 4am to 10.30am

A 254-kilometre race with seven ascents of the 11-kilometre climb makes this one of the hardest single-day races in the world, certainly much harder than any recent World Championships.

Paolo Bettini is the favourite to retain his title, which he won after breaking away with Portugal?s Sergio Paulinho. The other fancied riders are those who can climb and cope with the distance ? Alejandro Valverde, Denis Menchov, Stefan Schumacher, the Schlecks, Alberto Contador, Carlos Sastre and Samuel Sanchez are all in the frame.

It will be a tricky race to control, with the big nations having only five riders. It is impossible to think that trade team loyalties won?t come into it as happened in 2000 when three Telekom riders, Jan Ullrich, Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Kloden broke away in Sydney to share the medals.

This is the fourth Games where the cycling events have been open to professional riders.

Recent Olympic road races

Atlanta 1996

1. Pascal Richard (Switzerland)

2. Rolf Sorensen (Denmark)

3. Max Sciandri (Great Britain)

Sydney 2000

1. Jan Ullrich (Germany)

2. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazahkstan)

3. Andreas Kloden (Germany)

Athens 2004

1. Paolo Bettini (Italy)

2. Sergio Paulinho (Portugal)

3. Axel Merckx (Belgium)

The British team

Roger Hammond, 34

Jonathan Bellis, 19

Steve Cummings, 27

Ben Swift, 20

Other key riders

Cadel Evans, Stuart O?Grady (Australia)

Christian Pfannberger (Austria)

Maxime Montfort (Belgium)

Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)

Cyril Dessel, Pierrick Fedrigo, Jerôme Pineau (France)

Gerald Ciolek, Stefan Schumacher, Jens Voigt (Germany)

Philip Deignan, Nicolas Roche (Ireland)

Paolo Bettini, Franco Pellizotti, Davide Rebellin, Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)

Kim Kirchen, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)

Robert Gesink, Karsten Kroon (Netherlands)

Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)

Sergio Paulinho (Portugal)

Vladimir Efimkin, Vladimir Karpets, Denis Menchov (Russia)

Alberto Contador, Oscar Freire, Samuel Sanchez, Carlos Sastre, Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden)

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)

George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie (USA)

Jose Rujano (Venezuela)


Set the alarm for: 6.50am

Women?s road race 7am to 10.30am

A field of 67 riders will tackle a 126-kilometre course. This is Britain?s first chance of a medal. The team of Nicole Cooke, Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws is as good as any in the world.

If Cooke can match the likes of Marianne Vos and Judith Arndt on the climbs and it comes down to a sprint, a gold medal could be within grasp.

But Britain?s team is not a one woman show. Pooley and Laws are both excellent climbers and could choose to stir it up on the two ascents of the climb.

Recent Olympic road races

Atlanta 1996

1. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France)

2. Imelda Chiappa (Italy)

3. Clara Hughes (Canada)

Sydney 2000

1. Leontien Zijlaard (Netherlands)

2. Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany)

3. Diana Zillute (Lithuania)

Athens 2004

1. Sara Carrigan (Australia)

2. Judith Arndt (Germany)

3. Olga Slyusareva (Russia)

The British team

Nicole Cooke, 25

Emma Pooley, 25

Sharon Laws, 34

Other key riders

Katharine Bates, Sara Carrigan, Oenone Wood (Australia)

Judith Arndt, Hanka Kupfernagel, Trixi Worrack (Germany)

Noemie Cantele (Italy)

Zoulfia Zabirova (Kazahkstan)

Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania)

Marianne Vos, Mirjam Melchers, Chantel Beltman (Netherlands)

Anna Sanchis Chafer, Maria Isabel Moreno (Spain)

Nicole Brandli, Priska Doppman (Switzerland)

Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden)

Kristin Armstrong (USA)

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Olympic Games 2008 homepage>>

Olympics: latest news>>

Olympics cycling results>>

Cycling event schedule>>

Great Britain rider profiles>>

Cycling event guide>>

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British Olympic cycling medal winners>>




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