Beijing Olympic cycling: Spanish Armada

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Saturday, August 09, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

The Spanish Armada: That's how Ken Conley described the Spanish cycling team's performance this morning with Spaniard Samuel Sanchez's gold medal in the men's road racing team. I watched the race live but finally had to throw the towel in at about 1 A.M., just like the field of 53 DNFs in the race that included Americans David Zabriskie and Jason McCartney.

For pure gutsiness, I have to give Chile's Patricio Almonacid the nod. He and Bolivian Horacio Gallardo led a breakaway five minutes after the race start. An hour and a half later, Gallardo dropped back and Almonacid raced solo for over an hour before the escape group, led by Jason McCartney (USA), Vladimir Efimkin (Russia) and Christian Pfannberger (Austria) muscled their way across the 20 minute gap to catch Almonacid. 20 minutes later, Almonacid dropped off the back of the escape group, his 2½ hours of glory over. Almonacid would eventually DNF. He's one of the very few Olympic racers who does not race professionally.

You know where to find the usual cycling Olympic coverage and results, but I found some interesting commentary via Olympics 2008: The Women's cycling road race begins tonight, with online sreaming video of the bike race starting tonight at 11 PM Pacific Time. If I'm still awake you can catch my notes on Twitter this evening.

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...thanks to kwc &, i was able to catch practically all of the 6.5 hours of the men's road race on the computer while watching the opening ceremonies on the tube...

...i would be careful to check the time on the women's rr, which is listed as starting at 11:00pm pst whereas the men's race was listed as 11:30pm pst but was actually 8:30pm pst...

...unfortunately, the streaming video has no verbal commentary whatsoever & so the best way is to use cyclingnews 'live update' which is regularly updated & then just go back & forth...

...very odd to watch something as major as an olympic rr w/ very few spectators to begin w/ & on the live feed, the only sounds are the wind, occasional mild cheering & the background noise of support vehicles...w/ not even the ratcheting sound of freewheels as cycle music, phil & paul's bantering & occasional hatchet job are sorrily missed...
Good tip about Cyclingnews -- that's what KWC and I were also doing last night and I'm sure countless others. You're right that video feed has a lot to be desired. And the light audience was indeed strange to watch, almost like I was watching a well supported and televised charity ride :-)

I was really confused when I logged on last night after 11 PM and the race was well underway. That 8 PM start explains it!
...i lucked out, simply because during an early commercial break, i figured i'd see what kind of hoops i'd have to jump through to get the feed...(simple enough by adding "silverlight" which was easily provided) by 9:00pm i had blundered my way into the peloton...

...great last several hours or more of racing but i was pulling for the young andy schleck, kinda for all his "tour" work or the 37 year old birthday boy, davide rebellin...that guy is a quiet, solid, hard man who continually posts good results...when you look at all the guns squadra azzuri had to choose from & yet ballerini chose, that speaks volumes about "faith in ability" & i'm glad to see the man was at least rewarded w/ silver...
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