Posted by Editoress on 07/30/11
Tomorrow (Sunday, July 31st), the first formal run through of the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course will take place with the official test event. The Olympic mountain bike venue is located in the town of Hadleigh, Essex, overlooking the Thames River Estuary, approximately one hour east of Central London.
Riders had an earlier opportunity to check out the circuit in May, after the Dalby World Cup in the north of England, but that was not under race conditions.
46 women and 60 men are registered for the event, including both of the defending Olympic champions - Sabine Spitz of Germany and Julien Absalon of France. Other top riders who are scheduled to participate include, for the women: Elisabeth Osl (Austria), world number 1 ranked Catharine Pendrel (Canada), Annika Langvad (Denmark), World Cup leader Julie Bresset (France), Eva Lechner (Italy), 2004 Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa and Lene Byberg (both Norway), Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland) and Georgia Gould (USA).
On the men's side, in addition to Absalon, the start list includes World Cup leader Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic), cyclo-cross star Sven Nys (Belgium), Manuel Fumic (Germany), Marco Fontana (Italy), Christoph Sauser and Ralph Näf (both Switzerland) and Jeremiah Bishop (USA).
Riding conditions should be near perfect, in the low 20s Celcius with a breeze.
The start loop and finish circuit
The five kilometre circuit is not particularly technical - as is usually the case with Olympic courses - but includes three sizable climbs per lap and a couple of rock gardens. The terrain is also extremely open, so it will be nearly impossible for riders to get out of sight of chasers.
The switchback climb to the high point of the course
- This event is not only to have riders on the course at race pace, but also to try out all of the protocols, timing equipment, press facilities, etc., before the main event next summer. Unfortunately, one significant glitch has already appeared: the organization decreed that no one could get in today without a credential, including coming in to actually pick up credentials! So, we have a large number of the cycling media all being turned away, plus the defending women's Olympic champion - Sabine Spitz! It appears that organizers set their filter a bit too fine...
- The women will do a start loop and 6 laps and thr men a start loop and 7 laps. Each lap is 4.6 km, so the men will do 28.1 km and the men 32.7 (includes the 500 metre start loop). Local start times are 11 am (6am EDT) and 2pm (9am EDT)
- 33 women and 49 men will take the start tomorrow.
Missing women from the start are these riders (top 20 on the World Cup): Premont, Wloszczowska, Batty, Nash, Ren, Zakelj, Klemencic, Dahle Flesjaa
Missing men from the start are these riders (top 20 on the World Cup):
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