Tales from the peloton, August 6, 2008
Riders from around the world have converged on Beijing, China, ahead of the Olympic Games which commence this Friday. While some athletes have caused a stir, like the United States of America squad showing up wearing face masks, many have been busy taking in the sights around the Asian host city.
Unlike many athletes at this year's Games, the Olympic road cyclists have had little time to settle into the Olympic village. The road events commence this Saturday, just one day after the opening ceremony, prompting many to commence reconnaissance work of the challenging road course.
While some riders have opted to skip the opening ceremony, in order to keep out of the well publicized polluted Beijing air, some riders have flown in early to enjoy the full Olympic experience and acclimatise themselves. Great Britain's Chris Hoy is one such rider who has already arrived in Beijing, despite the track events not starting for another 10 days.
There's been plenty of serious business going on in preparation for the road race, but that doesn't mean the riders haven't had a chance to let down their hair. The Spanish team, which features Alejandro Valverde, was seen out snapping photos with locals yesterday while the German squad of Stefan Schumacher enjoyed a meal at McDonalds - one of the International Olympic Committee's eight key 'international partners'.