Olympic Cycling Courses & Event Previews

  
  


U.S. Olympic Cycling Team – by the Numbers

  Men Women
Disciplines 4 4
Events (with U.S. competitors) 9 (6) 9 (6)
Total American Cyclists 12 12
Returning Olympians 2 5
First-time Olympians 10 7
2008 U.S. Cycling Olympic Medalists 3 men (BMX – silver & bronze; road time trial – bronze) 2 women (BMX – Bronze; Road Time Trial – Gold)
Age Range 19 (Connor Fields, BMX) – 41 (Chris Horner, Road) 21 (Alise Post, BMX) –  39 (Dotsie Bausch, Track)



Road Cycling

Road Race
 
The United States will send a full roster of road cycling athletes to the Olympic Games. In an effort to balance gender parity, the maximum team size has been adjusted from six men and three women to five men and four women in London, allowing the U.S. the opportunity to qualify a fourth female and bring true team tactics to play in the women’s road race.
                      
As seen in this shot of the 2011 Olympic test event, the men's and women's road races will start and finish on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
As seen in this shot of the 2011 Olympic test event, the men's and women's road races will start and finish on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
The road race route begins at The Mall, an iconic location in central London, and takes cyclists south-west through London, across the River Thames at Putney Bridge, through Richmond Park, Bushy Park, and past Hampton Court Palace before heading out to Surrey. The deceptively challenging course will tackle the 15.5-kilometer circuit around Surrey’s Box Hill (nine laps of the circuit for the men and two laps for the women) before heading back to the city. Up to 15,000 spectators will be able to enjoy the road race action from one of the best vantage points on the route, Box Hill, and tens of thousands more will line the rest of the route.

Click here to see the road race route.
 
In the men’s 250-kilometer (156-mile) road race which will mark the first full-day of competition at the Olympic Games on Saturday, July 28, Tour de France stage winner and one of the world’s fastest finishers Tyler Farrar (Wentachee, Wash.) has established himself as a medal contender. He’ll be joined by fellow first-time Olympians Timmy Duggan (Boulder, Colo.), Chris Horner (Bend, Ore.), Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) and Tejay van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash.) in a road race where the U.S. is poised to grab a surprise medal. Home team Great Britain and superstar Mark Cavendish have established themselves as obvious front runners for the gold.     
The 140-kilometer (87-mile) women’s road race will take place on Sunday, July 29, and will follow the same route as the men’s event, but with only two laps of the Box Hill circuit. With some of the world’s best time trial athletes, Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho), Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.) and Evelyn Stevens (Acton, Mass.), teaming up with emerging sprinter Shelley Olds (Gilroy, Calif.), the U.S. ladies look to be as strong as any nation in the London road race.

By the Numbers:
  Men Women
Total # of Racers 145 67
U.S. Racers 5 4
Total Race Distance 250 km 140 km
 

Time Trial

On August 1, the men’s and women’s time trials will both be held over a single lap with slight variations to make the men’s course 44 kilometers (27 miles) and the women’s 29 (18 miles). The time trials will begin and end at the former royal residence, Hampton Court Palace in southwest London, and will incorporate sections of Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames, and Surrey.

Click here to see a map of the time trial course.
 
With a legacy of strength in the race against the clock, the United States is certainly a contender to bring home a medal for its fifth consecutive Olympic Games in the time trial. Emerging star, 22 year-old Taylor  Phinney who won this year’s Giro d’Italia prologue, will be the lone U.S. contender in the men’s event.
 
The United States’ legacy of strength in the time trial clearly applies across both genders with the women posting three top-five results in the event in the last two Olympic Games. After fourth and fifth-place finishes from Christine Thorburn in 2004 and 2008, and a gold medal from Kristin Armstrong in the 2008 Beijing Games, the American ladies will be aiming for a pair of time trial medals again, this time around.  Armstrong will ride in defense of her 2008 gold medal and 2009 world champion Amber Neben will join her as the second American entry in the women’s time trial.

By the Numbers:
  Men Women
# of U.S. competitors 1 2
Total Time Trial Distance 44 km 29 km

 


Track Cycling

Track cycling is slated to run August 2-7 inside the velodrome in the north end of Olympic Park. From the sourcing of wood and external cladding to the 100% natural ventilation system (which eliminates the need for air conditioning), the velodrome is one of the most sustainable venues for the 2012 Games. The designers worked hard to tailor the geometry, temperature, and environment to create a record-breaking track.
 
The 250-meter Olympic track holds upwards of 6,000 spectators and is located in London's Olympic Park.
The 250-meter Olympic track holds upwards of 6,000 spectators and is located in London's Olympic Park.
Of the ten Olympic track cycling events, the United States has qualified six representatives to contest four events:
 
Women’s Omnium: Sarah Hammer 
Women’s Team Pursuit: Dotsie Bausch, Sarah Hammer, Jennie Reed, Lauren Tamayo
Men’s Omnium: Bobby Lea
Men’s Sprint: Jimmy Watkins 
 
After the elimination of the individual pursuit, four-time world pursuit champion and fifth-place finisher at the Beijing Olympics, Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.)  has shifted gears and is poised for both the women’s omnium and the team pursuit competition in London. The omnium, best described as the decathlon of track cycling, features six events to determine the best overall rider. Placing second and third in the omnium competition at the last two UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Hammer has proven herself as one of the world’s top all-around female track riders and a top medal contender in London.  
 
Hammer is expected to team up with 2004 and 2008 Olympian Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash.) and first-time Olympians  Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif.) and Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C.) in the women’s team pursuit. Bausch, Hammer and Reed together earned the silver medal at the 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Championships while Bausch, Hammer and Tamayo set a previous world record in the event that same year. With the potential for the U.S. to ride four athletes for the three-woman team event, the ladies could have the distinct advantage of fresh legs with a different combination of riders contesting various rounds.
 
On the men’s side, one returning and one first-time Olympian will represent the U.S. After finishing 16th in the Madison event in 2008, Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa.) will return for his second Games. This time the 28 year-old will  contest the men’s omnium; after finishing the season ranked 17th in the world in that event.  Bakersfield, Calif. firefighter Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif.), who owns a share of the national record in the team sprint, earned the sole U.S. spot for the men’s sprint.  

By the Numbers:
Track Size 250 meters
Banking 12 degrees at the shallowest and 42 degrees at the steepest
Capacity 6,000 spectators
Total U.S. Competitors/Events 6 competitors/4 events
Total Track Cycling Events 10

 


BMX

For its second Olympic appearance, BMX will be housed next to the velodrome on a brand new 440-meter (women)/450-meter (men) track in Olympic Park. Both competitions, set for August, 8-10, will feature an eight-meter-high start ramp along with plenty of jumps, bumps and tightly banked corners. The entire venue covers a total area of 180 by 90 meters, slightly larger than the size of a football pitch.
 
After th
The London BMX track will undergo some slight changes to the first turn, but will feature an innovative underpass for the women and a box jump for the men.
The London BMX track will undergo some slight changes to the first turn, but will feature an innovative underpass for the women and a box jump for the men.
e U.S. took three of six BMX medals up for grabs in the discipline’s 2008 Olympic debut, it’s ready to send a full squad of five medal capable athletes from an entirely new generation to London.
 
Winner of the first three 2012 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup events, 19 year-old Connor Fields (Henderson, N.V.)  will be a medal favorite in London. He’ll be joined on the U.S. men’s BMX squad by Nic Long (Lakeside, Calif.), bronze medalist at last summer’s Olympic Test event, and David Herman (Wheat Ridge, Colo.), who finished fifth at the 2012 UCI BMX World Championships.
 
After just missing out on the Games in 2008, Arielle Martin (Spanaway, Wash.) secured her spot on Team USA after finishing fourth at the 2012 UCI BMX World Championships in May. The veteran will be joined by 21 year-old Alise Post (St. Cloud, Minn.), who won the BMX Supercross World Cup’s third stop this spring, as both ladies look to contend for the podium’s top step on August 10.

Forty-eight total riders will take part in BMX at the Games, which begin with a seeding during the Aug. 8 time-trial competition. The event will lead into the subsequent bracket-style elimination, quarterfinal, semifinal and final rounds on Aug. 9-10. 

By the Numbers:
Track Features Eight-meter high start ramp followed by jumps, berms, and tightly banked corners
Track Length 450 meters for men and 440 meters for women
Venue Area 180 meters x 90 meters
Total # of Competitors 32 men, 16 women
# of American Competitors 3 men, 2 women
Race time Approx. 40 seconds

 


Mountain Biking

The mountain bike races will take place east of London at Hadleigh Farm in the Essex countryside on Aug. 11-12, the final two days of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 550-acre site features beautiful grassland and woodland, with individual gradients measuring 70 meters from top to bottom. Although cross-country mountain bike competitions are typically held in wooded areas, the 4.7-kilometer course at Hadleigh Farm is situated on an open hillside. Each lap offers a total of 172 meters of elevation change, along with plenty of demanding climbs and descents that will challenge the competitors.

Click here to see a map of the mountain bike course.
 
The United States will send a team of four cyclists - two men and two women – to contest the cross-country events in London. Historically, the U.S. captured its lone medal in the mountain bike discipline – a bronze – at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the first Games in which the discipline was contested. After posting several top-10 finishes in the three Games since, the U.S. looks to return to the medal podium in the mountain discipline at the 2012 Games.
 
The 4.7-kilometer Olympic mountain bike course at Hadleigh Farm is situated on an open hillside with each lap offering 172 meters of elevation change.
The 4.7-kilometer Olympic mountain bike course at Hadleigh Farm is situated on an open hillside with each lap offering 172 meters of elevation change.
Samuel Schultz (Missoula, Mont.) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.) will make up the two-person men’s squad. The 36-year-old Wells will return for his third trip to the Olympic Games after finishing 19th in Athens and 43rd in Beijing. Joining the veteran will be 26- year-old Schultz who will compete in his first Games after posting the top world cup average finish among Americans in 2012.
 
After finishing second in last summer’s Olympic Test Event on the Hadleigh Farms course, Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo.) has established herself as a legitimate medal contender in London. The 2008 Olympian looks to be hungry after finishing eighth in Beijing.  Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt.) will join Gould on the two-woman squad after battling back from a hip injury to post solid international results this spring.

By the Numbers:
  Men Women
Total # of Racers 50 30
# of American Racers 2 2
# of Laps 7 6
Total Distance 32.9 km 28.2 km



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