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Olympic sports

Last Updated: Wednesday May 21 2008 12:48 GMT


Great Britain's cycling team at the Olympics in 2004

There are four bits to the Olympic cycling; mountain biking, road racing, BMX and inside in the velodrome.

Mountain biking sees the riders race around a hilly course that may go through rivers and over rocks.

On the road there are two events, road racing and time-trial.

In a road race all the riders start at the same time. The first one to cross the finish line gets the gold medal.

The time-trial sees riders start at intervals over the same course, and the one who is quickest to complete it wins.

BMX is the most recent addition to Olympic cycling.

Riders race around a lumpy, bumpy circuit that is 350 metres long. There are qualification races to determine which riders make it into the final, then the first to finish wins.

In the velodrome riders hare round a small indoor track that is on a slant from the middle out to the edge, which is called a bank.

Riders use hi-tech bikes and outfits, that wouldn't look out of place in a sci-fi film.

Keep an eye out for the Madison event, where each team has two riders who take it in turns to ride. When they switch over one pulls the other along for a bit holding hands. As crazy as it sounds.