Men's and women's Olympics road racing - pic heavy!

Saturday morning. Early. Head blurry thanks to flagbearers of Turkey and Norway and Paraguayan javelin thrower (amongst others). Stumble out of bed get on bike. Apparently the Olympics are on. Can't quite believe it until I try to cross the road race course on the Fulham Road. Barriers are up and bunting is flying.


But I must plough on. I have date with Box Hill. At Clapham Junction I meet up with maratsafin and Jorge. We form a little peloton and hightail through some of the less salubrious parts of southwest London. As we get closer to Box Hill there are more and more cyclists. We charge on past.

There's a big queue at the foot of Box Hill. Bikes parked and security cleared we're on Zig Zag Road with a few thousand others. I wonder who they're supporting?

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The crowd is clearly partisan. And some of its members of it can't spell very well.


But it's not all British. A Belgian has made it...


And a few Dutch keeping their end up with their normal gusto...


Then before long the helicopter was overhead...


Then the cops having fun clearing the road...


And then the break was here!

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Then it was the peloton. Guess who was on the front?


And then the peloton kept coming and coming...

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And then some poor guys tailed off by a crash before the hill - races already over


Then the riders were off and up the climb.


And that was the pattern for the next few laps.



GB lead peloton.


Growing number of stragglers.


Mick Rogers provided some diversion with a pointless attack.


And Korean Park showed grinta, plugging away having been dropped first by the break then my the peloton. 모자.


Then there's an attack! Nibali goes. Gilbert and another Belgian chase.


Gesink chases


A Danish rider too while Millar ponders what to do on the front of the peloton


At this point we start heading down the climb, taking some arty photos.


Watching GB chase.


In retrospect they should have followed the advice on this chaps T-shirt


Off the climb - maratsafin models the drawbacks of cycling shoes


We charge down the road to a local vineyard and park up the bikes.


They've set up a big screen and there are hundreds watching in the sunshine.


As we arrive Gilbert is on the rampage but things are looking good for GB. The break has a only a minute and there's 50km of flat roads to go. But the break doesn't come back. Excitement turns to concern. A groan as Cancellara crashes in Richmond Park. The nerves in the break in palpable. Uran and Vino get away. Uran gets punked in the last 300m. Time to go home. A fast 30km does just that.

A wonderful day, even if the result wasn't what I - and most of the millions on the course - wanted. But fear not Sunday brought another race and another chance this time for the women. So I toddled over to Putney to see them on the run out.

The weather had been wonderful for the men but today didn't look like it would cooperate today.


Damp and cold we wait for the race to arrive. Then up the High Street they come, a Brazilian off the front.


The fun-sized peloton follows



And then they're off to a rollicking race and an excellent outcome.


I'll confess I'm not sure the rest of the Olympics is worth it - but I'd be very happy to have more of this kind of racing on London's streets and in the surrounding countryside.


This is only a selection of my photos. More on my flickr account if you want to peruse them.

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