Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic Mens Road Race on TV

I had just returned from the store and turned on the TV to check out the weather. To my surprise there was a bike race going on - the olympics? I knew when the mtb olympics would take place because i have friends and acquaintances who are racing it - sven nys, georgia gould, todd wells, adam craig and mary mcConneloug. When you're without internet for four whole days as i was recently you miss a lot.

Anyway i figured it was the olympics because the guys were wearing non-big-team jerseys. The things you i sat down and watched for a while. What caught my eye first was the obvious racer loyalty over their country's. Next thing i noticed was that there was something missing, namely spectators. Almost no spectators. Aside from the mini pockets of people standing in parking lots every few kilometers, the roads were empty.

The last climb of the event determined the race - one of the schlek brothers (Andy) of CSC instigated an attack that blew the field apart which dropped USA favorite Levi Leipheimer. My favorite move of the day was Fabian Cancellara's bridge to the chase group of two who were ten seconds behind the three leaders (Schleck, davide rebellin and Samuel Sanchez). Cancellara approached the two guys at about twice their speed. After a brief rest behind them he jumped ahead and bridged the gap. It did help that Schlek slowed the others down so his CSC teammate could catch up.

Sanchez really did a great sprint and deserved the win. Too bad there were so few people to see it.


Rickie Rainwater said...

I'm watching the ending now. Long race, but I am surprised how poorly certain bikers are riding. It was kind of anti climatic when I check velo news this morning and I wish I didn't check it. It is great getting to see biking on an analog tv as I missed the tour de france. Very cool. I emailed an edited version of the picture you sent me. I also sent a much less attractive picture of myself before my easy ride this afternoon.

bikesgonewild said... was funny (both ha-ha & peculiar) to watch both the men's & womens races live on the commentary & as you noted, no spectators, particularly for the men...background sounds of the moto, the wind over the microphone & the occasional honk of a support vehicle... is a little info & a quote from cyclingnews..."The lack of spectator access is not only a concern to the fans, but to the riders as well. Stuart O'Grady was disappointed when his wife travelled all the way to China only to watch on TV. The lack of cheering fans made an already difficult race harder. "It was like silent murder," he told FoxSports.

"The pain was there but there was no screaming no cheering so it was very bizarre," he said of the closing circuits. "The Tour de France is popular because it is free to the people and the people have close access. I think that probably got in the way of their ideas of controlling people here."

...'indeed, stuey, indeed', in what had to have been an orchestrated move by chinese officials, there were groups of cheering, banner waving fans standing in the rain during the women's race...but, hey, at least it was something...

PEANUT said...

O'Grady's comments made the race seem unnaturally eerie - and by the look of it on TV it surely was.

Big Bad Wolf said...

I thought the Women's race was really awesome.. you train a whole year for hot humid conditions and then on race day it pours down and its like 24 degrees C.. bummer !!
Lots of girls got caught by that I suspect. i read Belgiums Liselot Delcroix got undercooled and therefore did not perform as expected. Pity.

PEANUT said...

hey bbw
pity about the rain but that's racing. And it rained for everyone not just Liselot. What i found most strange was that she was the only female racer at the olympics. Liselot is a phenomenal cyclist and deserves to be at the olympics but she is not clearly the strongest belgian female and there are many others (ie liesbet devocht) who could have had a spectacular race there too. I can't imagine that belgium was only able to bring one rider. Pity.

Anonymous said...

A sympton of the games location or just of the games themselves?

I always think it of the Olympics that apart from some of the big track athletic events the rest are pretty much specifically TV. the Commonwealths are the same and sometimes even the Worlds, I guess they are not so 'organic' in nature as their hugely traditional and full of history 'classics' and grand tours... But even your (and I really do not mean that in a derogatory sense) mid-week crit has people lining the streets.

When I saw the course profile adbvertised I noticed a downhill finish (??? - not sure what happened) Cancellara and Rebellin were two of my picks so it ended OK for me, but when British TV switched to the race and I saw Sanchez and Schleck in the group I was thinking what the ..., Awesome to see Cancellara going for it though, he waited and waited right to teh 50m mark knowing that he is twice the size of the others!

Now the womens race...