The London Summer Olympics will feature a host of big name cycling talent competing in a whole host of events, on the road, in the velodrome and on the mountain bike course. Cycling fans are sure to be in for a real treat when it comes to action in three particular events.
The road race at the Games is always a great spectacle, and this time around the atmosphere around the course is sure to be improved by the strength of the British team in the event. Mark Cavendish is sure to feature in the final shakedown for the medals in the men's race, after establishing himself as perhaps the world's best sprint finisher cyclist after claiming the Green Jersey in the 2011 Tour de France. Nicole Cook will also look to hang onto her Olympic title in the women's race.
The race itself is 250 kilometres long for the men, and 140 kilometres long for the women, with the course looping out of London and into leafy Surrey. Once out of the city, it consists of a large circuit which will be completed seven times by the men and twice by the women before they head back onto the streets of England's capital.
The course will end on The Mall, close to Buckingham Palace, where the race will also start. Many of the capital's famous locations will be passed on the route as the riders work for their medals.
The result here is determined in a very uncomplicated way, with the first rider to cross the line the winner of the gold medal. However, the tactical considerations of the race can be very complex and interesting for spectators, with the timing of breaks from the group and when to attack crucial on a course that has testing inclines but no really brutal mountain stretches.
Bicycle Motor Cross, better known as BMX, will be appearing at the Olympics for the second time. BMX riders will compete over a short outdoor course, which starts from an eight foot high ramp, and will be tested by a slopes, humps, ramps and bumps over a race which lasts around 40 seconds.
Competitors race over a series of races, or 'heats', and by a process of elimination the field is reduced until a final race determines the medalists. Seeding the event means that the strongest riders tend to avoid each other until the later rounds of the event, making for some exciting racing in the final stages.
Cross country mountain biking is another event which has not been a part of the Games for very long, having been introduced to the schedule in 1996. This is racing over a variety of surfaces, from dirt to road, and over hills and challenging terrain which tests a variety of attributes in competitors. The race is like the road event, in that the medalists are determined over once race, which should last around an hour and forty five minutes. The 2012 schedule will see competitors race over a course in Essex.
The London Summer Olympics promises to be full of excitement for cycling fans of all kinds. There are sure to be some new heroes made, as the agony and ecstasy of racing hard takes its toll on both competitors and spectators.