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July 26/02 11:37 am - Commonwealth Games Preview


Posted by Editoress on 07/26/02
 

Commonwealth Games Previews

From Rob Jones - Editor

Greetings from Manchester. The Commonwealth Games are underway after last night's official opening (see Jim Fisher's description below), presided over by the Queen . No, I didn't get to meet her...

The weather has been damp and overcast for the past while, according to locals, but today (Friday) is a beautiful day - and the weather is supposed to remain good for the next week or so.

Cycling takes place at two venues - Rivington, near Bolton and 35-40 minutes northwest of downtown Manchester, and the National Cycling Centre velodrome in the northeast part of the city.

At Rivington we will have the individual time trial tomorrow, starting at 9:00 am, 4:00 am EDT with the women. The men follow at 1:00 pm. The course is not too difficult, with a step climb in the middle of the 11.7 kilometre loop. The climb is between the 5 and 8 kilometre marks, but there are flat portions that make up almost half the length. The women do 2 laps, the men 4. It is a course that suits a power rider, so Eric Wohlberg and Clara Hughes should do well.

We have no official start list, but it should be Hughes, Lyne Bessette and Sue Palmer-Komar for Canada, with Wohlberg and Walters for Canada. Roland Green will, unfortunately, not be doing the time trial because it is scheduled just too close to the mountain bike race.

On Sunday evening the 500m and 1000m time trials will take place on the track, with the mountain bike races happening on Monday. After that, it is track Tuesday to Friday, with the road races on next Saturday.

The only cycling news is an amusing story of a pair of Kenyan riders who decided to ride up from the athletes village to Rivington to check out the course. Unfortunately, they decided to do it on the M6, a motorway equivalent to the 401 that runs across Ontario! The police caught up to them and explained that bicycles are not allowed on motorways. I guess there aren't a lot of superhighways where they normally ride...

Stay tuned for reports and photos immediately after the time trials tomorrow.

CC Meets Royalty!

Just as I was editing this report from Jim Fisher (below), HRH Prince Edward came wandering over and start to have a chat with me about covering the Games and cycling. Hopefully, I acquitted myself well, but in a room full of photographers, nobody got a shot! He was quite knowledgeable about the velodrome, and said he was looking forward to watching the racing there.

Report from Jim Fisher

Jim Fisher, a member of the Canadian team has just dropped us a line regarding his experiences so far.

Hello everyone! Last night was the Opening Ceremonies!! Everyone was all keyed up, lookin' sharp, cruising around the Athlete's Village. I decided to watch them from here rather than spend alot of time on my feet and see only half the show! The athletes wait outside, come in for a bit, then are shuffled back out for the rest of the show. So although it's cool, I've already done the Pan Am Ceremony, and the Olympic Ceremony, so I decided to sit out. My form is really good, and I didn't want to push my luck!

For those who might not know, the Village is set up so that the athletes have no need to go anywhere but their Sporting Venue. Everything from a hair dresser, florist, magazine store, phone centre, work out facilities and bar with big screen TV's showing the events are in the International Zone. Everyone has access to this zone. Then there is a cinema and HUGE cafeteria in which all country's athletes eat together. Each country has its own little area, with living quarters, laundry, and a central meeting place. Ours is called the Northern Lights Pavilion and it has TV's, VCR's with movies, Athlete Services Staff and many other Canadians working hard to anticipate Team Canada's needs. This entire complex is surrounded by gates, fenced in and makes airport security look easy. Like I said, no real reason to leave!

The entire Team Canada who were taking part in the ceremonies met on the grassy area in front of all our dorms. From there, many photos later, they boarded buses, and I waited behind. I am told they were sent to the Squash Venue, where they relaxed, watched a big screen TV with the start of the ceremony, bouncing huge beach balls over the crowd of 4000 athletes. They were then herded on foot to the stadium where they marched in and had a blast. It was compared by one of my peers as "an incredibly large discotech" with flashing lights, loud music, go-go dancers, and screaming fans! All the athletes were mingling together in the centre of the stadium, quite a social occasion!The march continued with all 72 countries, and then a salute to the athletes, the Queen declaring the Games open, and some dude singing a tune for the athletes. From there, they were herded back out to the street where they boarded the buses back to the Village. Quite an amazing experience! And that was the gist of the Opening Ceremonies for the 17th Commonwealth Games!!

Today, we are going for an easy road spin, and tomorrow I'm doing a pre-race prep for my kilo which will be on Sunday. Until then, Ciao. Jim.

 


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