The fast men can stay at home if they’re thinking of glory in the 2008 Olympic Road Race; British te
PIC BY FBUK The 2008 Olympic road race in Beijing, China, is shaping up to be the toughest major one day championship in years. The proposed course involves an 11 km climb that will have to be tackled up to seven times, and the finish is at the top of a 700 m, 7 percent ascent. It’s not a course for sprinters. The UCI’s technical delegate Charly Mottet recently inspected the course, and described it to La Derniere Heure as a “true climber’s race.” Johan Lammerts, winner of the Tour of Flanders in 1984, also saw it. “It will be magnificent and terrible,” he wrote to the UCI. The parcours has yet to be validated, according to Mottet. “It will leave the centre of Beijing, in the vicinity of the Forbidden City, pass through Tiananmen Square and then leave Beijing, probably via the expressway, towards the Great Wall of China. That is 80 km, all of it flat. But then, when they reach the Wall, a circuit of 24 km to be covered six or seven times awaits the competitors.” Each lap, the course climbs from 80 meters to 600 metres above sea level in approximately 11 km. “The total altitude difference is therefore the same as a hard mountain stage if this is the equivalent of a third category col,” added Mottet. The climb is split into “three sections, with a short descent between each, of an average gradient of five percent with sections of seven, eight or even ten percent. As it is long, you would climb it with a 41×17, 19, 21.” Once the riders are on the circuit, they won’t leave it until the finish. The sprint is up a 700 metre climb which averages seven percent. The Olympic Road Race is scheduled for Saturday, August 9, 2008 – the day after the opening ceremony. Apart from the difficulty of the course, the riders will also have to cope with very warm conditions and a high humidity. FBUK adds one British women’s team Fat Birds UK (FBUK) has added a Japanese rider to its roster for 2007. Masami Mashimo, from Kanagawa, Japan, comes to the team from Dutch club Moving Ladies, and will add European and cyclo-cross experience to the squad. Masami is a two time Japanese Cyclo-Cross Champion, and rode well in the Tour of Brittany and the Euregio Tour this season. She will travel to Europe early in 2007 and start in the Omloop Het Volk in March. FBUK has more immediate objectives, too. Cyclo-crossers Gabby Day and Helen Wyman have continued their European ‘cross seasons in the UK and Italy respectively. Current UK Number 1, Day returned to England to race at Mallory Park to defend her lead in the UK National series. Despite fighting a cold, she still finished second behind Great Britain’s rising star of MTB, Amy Hunt. World number 3 Helen Wyman travelled to Italy to compete in the G.P. Cittadi Verbania in Northern Italy. She dominated the race, finishing one and a half minutes ahead of her nearest rival. A number of the FBUK riders will get together in Belgium for a team event over the next week.