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From The Tour de France to Surrey’s Olympic road cycling race

You win some, you lose some!

The main part of the Road Cycling race for the Olympics took part in Surrey where crowds lined the roads to cheer the teams on.

MicaŽla Hobbs
As a long term Chiang Mai resident and cycling enthusiast, this year has been outstanding for us British cyclists. Bradley Wiggins will go down in history as the champion road cyclist who changed British cycling for ever. A new era for British cycling has begun and with the achievements of the British Team Sky at this year’s Tour De France never has there been more cycling fever and excitement in the sport as there is now. Britain has, of course, had its share of high achievers in the cycling world with brilliant time trail and track champions such as Chris Boadman, Chris Hoy, David Millar, Bradley Wiggins and of course the infamous Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish. Cavendish rose to the top of his profession as World champion in 2011 and has the reputation of being one of the fastest sprinters in history. He also now holds the record of 23 Stage wins in the Tour de France, a record by any sprinter in tour history. But its Bradley Wiggins who has written his name into British sporting legends, who will forever be remembered as the first ever British winner of the Tour de France – something that just a couple of years ago seemed out of reach of any British cyclist.

Everyone got into the spirit of the Games.

To see the Yellow jersey (Wiggins) leading out the world champion (Cavendish) sporting the rainbow Jersey of the world champion which he has worn with so much pride during the tour, on the sprint for the final stage on the Champs Elysee was an awe-inspiring sight. I am sure I can speak for a whole nation of tour followers – holding my breath and covered in goose bumps I felt as if internal combustion was about to happen as I watched history in the making! Cavendish has won the final stage on the Champs Elysee four years running. Team Sky had the overall Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, and second place, Chris Froome, on the podium. Team sky also won 6 stages of this year’s tour; 7 of the 21 stages were won by British cyclists. Records just keep being broken!

How big is this for British cycling?” said one Tour de France commentator to another, “ BIG” was the reply “it will change the course of British cycling forever” Congratulations to Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and the whole of the Sky road cycling team who did themselves and the whole British nation proud in this year’s Tour de France.
And then, just a week after celebrations on Le Champs Elysee the nation’s excitement for the Olympic 250km road cycling race and Mark Cavendish’s dream to take the Gold! I joined thousands of spectators on the 15.5 km Box Hill loop in Surrey where the majority of the 250km Olympic race was focused. With true British fair play in mind the Olympic organisers did not come up with a route that would favour our British Sprinter, the fastest man in the world. If he was to achieve one of his most significant ambitions he would have to climb a hill 9 times. The climb is not the longest or steepest of ascents but 9 times around this circuit is the equivalent of cycling a serious alpine pass, with 140kms of the race held through some of the South of England’s loveliest countryside.

The crowds started arriving at 6 a.m. juggling for the best view. Some had even camped out the night before. It is estimated that over 1 million lined the route hoping to see Team GB win a Gold medal – unprecedented support that even amazed the athletes; “I’ve never seen so many people at a bike race.” Explained Michael Rogers, one of Team Sky riders who was spectating. The atmosphere was electric as we watched Team GB, Wiggins, Cavendish, Froome, Millar and Stannard attempt to control the entire race, riding in formation in the front, leading the other Olympic teams for the majority of the race. Union Jacks lined the streets and adorned many of the spectators – even many dogs were patriotic enough to show off the Union Jack!

But on the day the energy sapping route and the other Olympic teams’ reluctance to help bring back the breakaway group left Team GB unable to deliver Mark Cavendish for his sprint to Gold medal victory. They were beaten in the last 50kms by a cleverly timed attack whose advantage they were unable to erode, despite the efforts of Wiggins in particular, as the race left the Surrey hills and headed back to London.

Despite the tangible disappointment among all of the Team GB supporters it will remain not only a fantastic experience for the spectators, but for the Team themselves. Cavendish described the experience of competing in front of such a large and vocal support at a home Games;

‘All our ears are ringing,’ he said. ‘Obviously we don’t pick up on individuals, you just hear noise. It was tremendous the whole way round.
‘It’s something I’ll remember forever.

‘I haven’t got a medal but I can be completely proud of my team and completely proud of my country for their support.’

There is no doubt that cycling has a new status as one of Britain’s major sports. We will be seeing more of these talented athletes, maybe in the next few cycling events at this year’s Olympics and definitely on the world cycling stage over the months and years to come.

MicaŽla Hobbs cycles with Crouching Tiger Cycling Tours that offers road cycling tours around Chiang Mai and the North.

Northern Lions in a draw with Army United

Army United and TTM Northern Lions fought it out in heavy rain.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The “Northern Lions” TTM Chiang Mai club played host to visitors Army United in a match sponsored by the Thailand Premier League held at the 700 Year Stadium on August 12, 2012 that saw the bottom of the league Lions take on 6th ranked Army United in a match that ended up seeing heavy rain.

The home team started out strongly with number 33 Leonardo Ferreira scoring a goal in the 20th minute. Army fought back but Lions’ goalie Sithipong Manowvan managed to keep the score 1-0 by the end of the first half as rain began to fall heavily.

The heavy rain continued in the second half which made game play more difficult. At the 65th minute Pakasit Sansuk of Army United scored to bring the game to 1-1. TTM Lions number 34, Akeartit Somjit scored another goal at the 75th minute to bring the Lions back into the lead but then Army United’s Pakasit scored a second goal to equalize the match.

Army United brought home team TTM Northern Lions to a 2-2 draw.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

From The Tour de France to Surrey’s Olympic road cycling race

Northern Lions in a draw with Army United