The Olympic Games in
While BMX will be brought into the Olympic Games for the first time since its inception in 776 BC, it comes at a cost of two track events. The men's one kilometre time trial and women's 500 metre time trial were controversially dropped from the games in order to pave way for the discipline with a younger, mass audience.
Controversy hasn't only been limited to the make up of this year's Games, with
Politically-motivated actions, like Cadel Evans' 'Free Tibet' tee-shirt seen throughout the season, had also prompted the International Olympic Committee to put out a release earlier this year warning athletes off making such gestures at the games. The IOC however backed down the following day, clarifying that its note only related to ceremonies, such as podium presentations, and that competitors wouldn't be punished for expressing their opinions outside of the competition area.
Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto/Bel), wearing a tee-shirt reading 'Free Tibet', rides, on July 20, 2008, during the 183km 15th stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Embrun and Prato Nevoso (Italy)
One thing that hasn't changed however is the competitors' desire to claim gold. The drive towards Olympic glory is as strong as ever and with the addition of BMX will be open to more cycling disciplines than ever.
All eyes are on the skies in
While the weather is a case of 'watch this space', Paolo Bettini (Italy) stands a good chance of defending his road race title from Athens, but Alejandro Valverde (Spain) will pose a big threat to the World Champion's Olympic-double. Fresh off his Clásica San Sebastián win, Valverde will ride with the support of a strong Spanish squad.
We can expect the Union Jack to fly high above the track podiums at this year's Games, but for a change it won't be the one shoved in the corner on the Australian flag. British Cycling has turned out a team that will rival its far-away colony, and any other nation for that matter.
Chris Hoy (Great Britain) won the sprint event at the world championships at the Manchester velodrome earlier this year
Swiss world TT champion Fabian Cancellara will be strong in the men's time trial. While Cancellara didn't win either of last month's Tour de France time trials, he proved a valuable engine in the overall winner's line-up and will be targeting a strong result in
After taking bronze in
Off the back of two World Cup victories in Canada Julien Absalon (France) is in unstoppable form, something that's unlikely to change between now and the Olympic Games cross country race. The muddy conditions last weekend in
Absalon wins at the MTB World cup in Bromont, Canada
The Chinese women have pulled some surprisingly strong cross country results in the past 12 months, but the biggest question mark is over Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa. After a bad year last year Dahle Flesjaa has taken a different approach to racing this year and while she didn't start last weekend's World Cup race, she's widely tipped as the rider to watch in the expected difficult conditions.
BMX will take the cross country mountain biking title as the baby of cycling's Olympic Games disciplines when it makes its debut later this month. BMX has, in part, been added to the Olympic schedule as an attempt to broaden the Games' appeal to younger global markets.
Competitors leave the starting gate during a Moto Heat during the USA Olympic Trials for BMX
The Americans will be strong with World Cup leader Donny Robinson leading its charge in the men's event. The women's race will likely be fought out between
Throughout this year's games Cyclingnews.com will have live coverage of all road cycling events as well as the men's and women's cross country mountain bike events.