London 2012 Olympic Cycling Men’s Road Race

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Well it would be silly not to… when the Olympic cycle race passes by less than 6 miles from your home, it’s a must-watch – especially when Team GB had a good chance of medals!

So on Saturday morning I put my Canon 1D and a couple of lenses in my backpack, jumped on the mountain bike, and headed through the leafy villages of Chilworth and Albury to the A25 just outside Gomshall…

When I arrived there were already lots of people lined up along the roadside – I was glad I’d decided to cycle rather than take the car, as parking space was at a premium (unless you wanted to pay an enterprising local farmer £2 for the privilege of parking in his field)!

As you will see from the photos, there was a happy and relaxed atmosphere, with spectators of all ages enjoying the sunshine and keenly anticipating the arrival of the cyclists.

The arrival of the leading group was heralded by London 2012 official cars and police motorcyclists – then the leading breakaway group were past in a flash. It’s amazing how fast they go – watching on TV the pace can look fairly relaxed but in reality they are speeding along. I was glad to have my fast-shooting 1D which does 9 frames a second!

After a few minutes the main peloton came through, including Team GB’s riders Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, and Ian Stannard. A couple of seconds later (apart from one rider who had been dropped by the main field) it was all over!

Sadly it wasn’t to be Team GB’s day in the medal rankings – their intended strategy of getting Mark Cavendish to the Mall in position for a sprint finish was well known to the other teams, and a determined breakaway group were just too far ahead to be caught in the absence of help from the other teams. So in the end Alexandr Vinokourov of Kazakhstan took gold with Rigoberto Uran of Colombia winning silver.

Despite the disappointment of the final result it was great to have had the opportunity to see such great sportsmen in action – maybe next year I’ll go and take some photos of the Tour de France! In the meantime here are my impressions of the Olympic Men’s Road Race. (Click any thumbnail to enlarge in a pop-up window).