Olympic Cycling Comes To Surrey
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
Olympic cycling came to Surrey this past weekend. Today on the blog, Stephen shares his thoughts as the Olympics visited his own backyard.
The Olympic spirits were really raised in this part of the U.K over the weekend with both the Men and Women's road race hurtling past our front door here in leafy Surrey.
There was an amazing sense of community that is not often felt in these "commuter belt" lands, with neighbours who had barely exchanged a "good morning" for the past ten years suddenly coming together with a mutual sense of excitement.
The mens race in particular was run in beautiful sunshine and saw over a million spectators turn out along the route, all pumped up by the recent success of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France and hoping that the odds-on favourite and cycling superstar Mark Cavendish would do the business. My father-in-law was in charge of the street barbecue all morning and was sporting a fake pair of Wiggins "sideburns" to get into the swing of things (although these turned out to be real on closer inspection).
There was undeniably a sense of anti climax as team GB trailed in well beaten and out of the medals, having settled off the pace and been unable to reduce a substantial gap that had been established after halfway. If this had been a horse race there would surely have been a "stewards enquiry" into such a negative ride and some more fractious punters would have been screaming for blood.
The winner was the unconsidered rider Vinokourov from Kazakhstan who got the better of a thrilling sprint finish in London (most Brits labelled him "Borat" after the film character portrayed in the spoof film set in a country they had previously never heard of). This disappointment was typically met by a shrug of the shoulders (we are well accustomed to unexpected defeats in the sporting field here) and the chat turned to the ladies race on Sunday.
The weather duly turned and this contest was run in pouring rain at the finish in Pall Mall. But the crowds through the countryside were still huge and a major triumph followed with the unknown Yorkshire lass Lizzie Armitstead securing a silver medal. She was just denied in a thrilling sprint finish by the race favourite Marianne Vos.
Five Things The Olympics Have Brought So Far
1 - A huge sense of national pride that the opening ceremony was a success.
2 - A sense of community especially with events passing through local villages
3 - Fury at the empty seats in some of our stadiums...apparently left empty as "corporate" booked areas have not turned up, while Joe Public was told "sold out".
4 - A longing for the first British Gold
5 - Most importantly the speed-bumps (long hated and the cause of 2 new exhausts and 3 new tyres in the past year) were removed completely from our road and will never return!!
Roll on the "time trials" on Wednesday!!
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Point 3 is quite annoying, having some friends that have not been able to see the handball games not only because of corporates, which aren't so interested on it, but because of the "competition pass". Many, even english, bought the pass to attend only to the late stages (semi- or finals) because they were afraid of not being able to see anything else on the Olympics. This is what I've been personally told, and might just be a one-of case. It also seems to be fixed now, after the first round of games.