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Present at the Olympic Games programme since the first edition, Cycling gains international visibility in July with its most famous competition: the Tour de France. And the World BMX Championships also happen on 24-28 July in Auckland, New Zealand. Because of this, Cycling is the topic for the next sports special on the rio2016.com website.
The whole week, exclusive articles will be posted on Cycling disciplines, the only sport that will rock three out of four zones that will host the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games. With the exception of Maracanã zone, Cycling competitions will be held in the other three zones that are part of world’s greatest sporting event: Barra, Copacabana and Deodoro.
In the heart of the Games, that is how Barra zone is called, Track Cycling competitions will be held. The events are scheduled to take place in the future Velodrome that, after the 2016 Games, will be part of Brazil’s first Olympic Training Centre (link). The discipline had ten events in London 2012 – men’s and women’s individual and team sprint, omnium, keirin and team pursuit.
The United Kingdom led the medal count with seven gold medals, a silver and a bronze. One can highlight the performances of Victoria Pendleton, gold in keirin and silver in individual sprint, an event where she won gold in Beijing 2008 and Sir Chris Hoy, the greatest British medallist of all times, with six gold medals (and a silver), two of them won in London.
Road Cycling will be hosted in Copacabana zone, more precisely in a circuit built in Aterro do Flamengo. Four events are included in this discipline: men’s and women’s time trial and road race. Once more the United Kingdom led the discipline’s medal count with a gold, a silver and a bronze medal. Kazakhstan, the US and the Netherlands were also represented at the top of the podium.
The other two Cycling disciplines (BMX and Mountain Bike) will be hosted, along canoe slalom, in the Rio X Park (link), in Deodoro. BMX made its first appearance in the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, highlighting the performances of Maris Strombergs, from Latvia, who became the discipline’s first twice-champion and Mariana Pajón, from Colombia, gold in the women’s event, a result that raised her to the rank of Colombia’s second Olympic champion of all times.
Mountain Bike is present in the Games since Atlanta 1996 and, in London, it had an exciting men’s final that was only defined during the last sprint and a new female Olympic champion, Julie Bresset, from France, who beat Sabine Spitz, from Germany, champion in Beijing 2008 and medallist in the last three Games editions. In total, Cycling handed out 54 medals in London 2012, in 18 events.
The most recent discipline of Paralympic Cycling, track competition was introduced only in Atlanta (Photo: IPC/Evgeniya Bocharnikova)
Para-Cycling hands out 150 medals in London 2012
In the Paralympic Games, the sport is divided in two: Road and Track. In London 2012, 150 medals were handed out, divided in 50 events. The athletes competed for 32 gold medals in Road Para-Cycling and for another 18 in Track.
Athletes are divided in four classes: B (athletes with visual impairment that compete in a two-person cycle along a sighted cyclist that rides in the front seat); H1 to H4 (athletes with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury or amputations that prevent them from riding a standard bicycle. They compete with a tricycle that may be hand-operated); T1 and T2 (athletes with impairments that affect their balance. They compete with tricycles); and C1 to C5 (athletes with impairments that affect the arms, legs or trunk but that are able to ride standard bicycles).
In the article on Para-Cycling, the reader will get to know a little more on the lives of Alessandro Zanardi, from Italy, who had a great performance in the tracks of the Brands Hatch circuit, the site of London 2012 Road competitions, and of Jady Malavazzi, from the State of Paraná and only 18 years old, silver medallist in the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan American Games and Brazilian hope for Rio 2016™.
Check out the programme:
Monday, the 15th – BMX Cycling is responsible for 25% of Colombian medals in London 2012
Tuesday, the 16th – British Track Cycling stars retire and open the way to the new generation
Wednesday, the 17th – Alessandro Zanardi’s commitment and courage inspire paracyclist Jady Malavazzi
Thursday, the 18th – Greater chance in Road events for first Brazilian Olympic medal in Cycling
Friday, the 19th – Pioneer Bart Brentjens follows Mountain Bike’s growth after its Games debut