Olympics: Rain hits BMX and women's mountain biking

Racing postponed until Friday and Saturday

The women's Olympic mountain bike race has been postponed until Saturday because of rain damage to the course, it was confirmed on Thursday.

The race, held on a 4.5km loop to be raced for approximately 1 hour 40 minutes, was due to be held on Friday.

It means that both the women's and men's Olympic races will be held on Saturday, with a scheduled start of 1000 for women and 1500 for the men.

After a meeting Thursday with organisers and informing all of the teams, International Cycling Union (UCI) official Peter Van den Abeele told AFP: "The course has been damaged by the weather conditions.

"It rained throughout the night and almost until 1500. It's a very technical course and the safety issues involved were decisive for us in making this postponement."

The UCI official said weather predictions for Saturday were "sunny", allowing the field to race in conditions similar to earlier this week when they trained on the 4.5km loop that is raced for two hours by the men and 1hr 40min by the women.

"It's probably the first time we've had to do this but the Games are only once every four years," added Ven den Abeele. "The race has to be held in the fairest conditions possible. We don't want it becoming a lottery."

Heavy rain early in the day forced the postponement of Thursday's semi-finals in the BMX bicycle competition until Friday.

Action in the men's and women's events had been due to start at 11:00 am (0300 GMT) but the bad weather saw this initially put back to 3:00 pm (0700 GMT).

As the downpour continued, a decision was taken to postpone racing until Friday.

© AFP 2008

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