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The Wheels did not come off for team GB in the medal factory!
Cycling in General
Member Name: thedevilinme
Cycling in General
The crowds at the Olympics have certainly not been as multicultural as that opening ceremony, very much white and middle-class, tickets awarded on post code and salary levels by the looks, the velodrome very much in that category. But it has been bloody amazing in there and produced some of the best Olympic stories so far.
'The Medal Factory', as some hack in the Mail called it, has been the place to be and history making all the way, Team GB medaling in all but one of the events and taking a record seven gold's. Chris Hoys British Olympian record six gold's and the shambling Victoria Pendleton provided most of the high drama and the Olympic retirees foolishly didn't mention anyone shooting them if they go anywhere near a bike again. I think 35-year-old Hoy is done and will pretend he will go on to help promote the Commonwealth Games in Scotland two years from now but back of gracefully, whereas Pendleton needs the sport to keep herself together as she is that shambolic and scatty off the bike and so the road race may beckon in sexy Rio for Sexy Victoria as its all she knows. The rest of the team looks in rude health and the World Cycling Federation will have to chip off most of the events in 2016 to stop GB dominating again in the velodrome. We are simply invincible.
It was all about Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins in Olympic cycling from day one, Hoy chasing Redgrave's five gold's and Wiggins looking to set the all time Olympic medal haul record for British Olympians.
The men's road race was the first big free show of the Games as hundreds of thousands of people lined the nine lap route in N. West London, many to see the new Tour de France winner. But it was not to be and team SKY GB didn't have enough to reel back the final breakaway on the last but one circuit and an athlete from Kazakhstan took the gold, a man who had failed a drug test and served a long drug ban for his indiscretion, a Sydney 2000 bronze medalists, not unusual in cycling of course. Talk about a mood killer. All the countries were clearly working against Team Sky and so we had this unforeseen winner. The road race is unique in that it's a 100% team effort to set up an individual and the other team members don't get a medal when their guy does make the top three and so you have to work for and with other nations to place your man with little reward, which often means helping the opposition out if your person or even country can't win. The other teams simply didn't want to help Team GB drag the peloton back to set up the sprinters and so Mark Cavendish dead in the water. Cavendish has already talked about leaving Team Sky after losing the limelight in the Tour de France and I can't see him riding another Olympics because of that. Bradley Wiggins is the man now and almost nailed on for the BBC Sports Personality of the year. Bradley likes his beer and the occasionally cigar and if he wasn't cycle racing he would be on his beloved Lambretta or in the pub, a true Mod, those sideburns and all.
The boys couldn't deliver in the road race but the girls did, pretty Lizzie Armistead latching on to a three girl breakaway on 27k and securing the first medal of the games for Team GB as the three girls kept that gap from the peloton, the incentive to work hard to secure a medal each. The Dutch favorite Marianne Voss won the sprint from Armistead but a brilliant ride by the British girl never-the-less in driving rain to get silver. She took the opportunity of the publicity of the medal to criticize the lack of funding for women's sports and cycling. But if women don't pay to watch women's sport then there will be no money babe. What we do know is thousands of little girls will be dreaming of emulating her and not Paris Hilton now, which has to be a good thing.
Bradley Wiggins (actually born in Belgium) delivered in the time trial some three days later, his specialist race, 42 seconds ahead of the second place man Tony Martin from America to take gold, wing man Froome (born in Kenya) of Britain again in the shadows for bronze. It was an amazing day to witness, me and my brother driving down to West London at the last to take in the majesty of Wiggins, a true working-class hero. Wiggins is now our most decorated British Olympian after passing Redgrave's six medals (he got a forgotten bronze) and the only man to hold both the Tour de France and the Olympic Time Trial title at the same time. If he wins in Rio four years from now then he will be a true Olympic great.
So on to the Velodrome and those super streamlined bikes, 25 grand a pop no less. Sexy and loveable oddball Victoria Pendleton was first up in the team sprint, but a catastrophic technical rules error seeing the British trio disqualified. She is a bit flakey and this was a bad error. Her dad Mick was almost an Olympic cyclist and like Agassi, Victoria admits she doesn't really like her sport and living her dad's career vicariously. But the five times World Champion and two times Olympian gold medalist is a class act and gutsy rider and always performs. Falling in love with her Team GB cycling coach hasn't helped things in the British cycling team, a strict 'no no' rule in cycling by all-accounts, getting her ostracized from the team for a while.
Chris Hoy, on the other hand, did not muck up under pressure and blasted his trio in the same event to gold number five with a world record in front of an amazing crowd. There was more controversy when team member Phil Hyndes, who is more German than British, seemed to suggest he had deliberately fell off his bike to force a restart. Jason Kenny was the other team member and taking the place of Hoy for individual gold in the singles event.
The velodrome is a brand new and stunning bespoke arena and very fast and the British team were soon dominating, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott earning the 3,000m WR of 3.15.669 seconds, and that just the semi-final.
It was soon gold for Pendleton in the Kieran (the one with the funny man on the motorbike) and gold for the men's pursuit four of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh, who chipped another second of their world record in the final that they set in qualifying. After Beijing the IOC tried to stop GB dominating the cycling by dropping certain sprint events as they have a policy of not letting countries dominate events. It didn't work, team GB's tech boys and girls getting to work with every pair and four braking a timed world record so far.
Gold again in the velodrome, Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell clocking their sixth straight WR to win the Team Pursuit, gold number five for team GB. Its technology that gives us the edge but the athletes our super fit and prepared. These medalists were not drug cheats but athletes delirious with their medals for those four long years of training. The night was lightly tarred by Paul McCartney having his Cliff Richard moment. He cuts a sad figure now.
Ed Clancy picked up a bronze on Sunday in the Omnimun race, the pentathlon for cyclist, a surprisingly quiet day in the velodrome for team GB as far as medals go.
Jason Kenny has serious pressure on his young soldiers after the great Chris Hoy was dropped to hand him the sprint event. Now the events have been trimmed it means just one national rider per event, like asking America to drop Phelps for Lochte or Wiggins for Froome. Kenny blasted one nil up against world champion Burgas for a 2-0 victor in the best of three, the Olympic champion in the blue ribbon sprint. It was gold number 6 in the velodrome. The medal factory delivers again.
An outstanding Omnimun by little Laura Trott delivered another gold medal number on the final day, and a sensational one too, coming from third to first in the final event of the 500m sprint, the defending world champion to. She is cute and nearly didn't come to be, born with a collapsed lung and now double Olympic champion, surely taking over from Pendleton as the new glamour girl of the sport.
Chris Hoy does it again, the greatest Olympian ever with 6 gold's! He was brilliant in the Kieren but for a moment he didn't look like he would get it but passed Levi on the final straight as the place erupted, holding the sprinters line at the critical moment. It would be gold number seven for Team GB in the Velodrome to surpass Beijing. I wouldn't ant to meet this guy in the cycle lane in your local town.
It was Mears V Pendleton again, the Aussie bulldog v the cute kitten, a huge rivalry here. Pendleton won race one by 1000th of a second, the difference between these two. Vic had called her an old cow in the media. Mears is all muscle whilst Victoria is all determination and grace. But Viccy was disqualified from race one for a sprinter lane violation, clearly elbowed by the Aussie into reacting to cause the infringement in the first place. World cycling is not happy with Team GBs dominance and this was their chance to snatch a gold medal back, Mears winning race two and so that gold after Pendleton folded. Viccy has very bad skin and so maybe cosmetic commercials to come in her retirement. No ones perfect.
It's hard to fault the last week and apart from the ticket sales issues and who was getting them it's been in the top three sports of the Games for me. I like cycling as it's not too posh and even though Hoy went to public school most of the racers are from regular backgrounds and so allowed to do great things with their lives through the sport. I read somewhere that Eton won more medals than the whole of India in Beijing because of the dominance of sit down sports medals in team GB, where the public schools excel. I also read that Yorkshire is tenth in the medals table with five gold's. Millfield School in Somerset has its own equestrian centre! But cycling is cool and role models like Wiggins and the giggly Laura Trott are great for the health of the nation and so lets have a velodrome in every city and town across the land! Now where are my cycling clips?
Final Medal Table
1 - Great Britain --- 9 medals
(7) Gold (1) Silver (1) Bronze
2 - Australia --- 5 medals
(1) Gold (1) Silver (3) Bronze
3 - Germany --- 3 Medals
(1) Gold (1) Silver (1) Bronze
Summary: Golden ticket