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Lookin' back on Beijing

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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa's tough few years ended even tougher in Beijing.

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa's tough few years ended even tougher in Beijing. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Sabine Spitz crossed the line in first carrying her bike

Sabine Spitz crossed the line in first carrying her bike (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Geoff Kabush (Canada) got the holeshot and led for the first part of lap one.

Geoff Kabush (Canada) got the holeshot and led for the first part of lap one. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Fans line the final descent where gold medallist Julien Absalon

Fans line the final descent where gold medallist Julien Absalon (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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History in the making: BMXers bolted down the start ramp adorned with the Olympic Games rings.

History in the making: BMXers bolted down the start ramp adorned with the Olympic Games rings. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Anne-Caroline Chausson made even more history for France.

Anne-Caroline Chausson made even more history for France. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Kyle Bennett (United States of America) leads the charge down the

Kyle Bennett (United States of America) leads the charge down the (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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British glory: Great Britain finished the track meet the way it started - on top.

British glory: Great Britain finished the track meet the way it started - on top. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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British pride: With the United Kingdom holding the next Olympic Games

British pride: With the United Kingdom holding the next Olympic Games (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Juan Esteban Curuchet (Argentina) was emotional after taking his first gold medal in the men's madison,

Juan Esteban Curuchet (Argentina) was emotional after taking his first gold medal in the men's madison, (Image credit: AFP)
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Belgium's Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele desperately reach for one another during the men's madison.

Belgium's Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele desperately reach for one another during the men's madison. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The Laoshan Velodrome was packed to the rafters for the final night.

The Laoshan Velodrome was packed to the rafters for the final night. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Some of the finishing margins - like this one between Australia's Anna Meares and Shuang Guo (China) - were breathtaking.

Some of the finishing margins - like this one between Australia's Anna Meares and Shuang Guo (China) - were breathtaking. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Australia's Anna Meares was pumped after realising she made it

Australia's Anna Meares was pumped after realising she made it (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Great Britain blasted around the course and almost caught the Danes.

Great Britain blasted around the course and almost caught the Danes.
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The Kiwis celebrate their bronze medal victory over Australia.

The Kiwis celebrate their bronze medal victory over Australia. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Heading up? Chris Hoy (Great Britain) and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)

Heading up? Chris Hoy (Great Britain) and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Chris Hoy (Great Britain) muscles his way to a two-race elimination

Chris Hoy (Great Britain) muscles his way to a two-race elimination (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Marianne Vos savors the win a great turn around of luck

Marianne Vos savors the win a great turn around of luck (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Nowhere to go: Sarah Hammer (USA) goes right over Wadami Satomi (Japan), Verena Jooss (Germany) and Trine Schmidt (Denmark).

Nowhere to go: Sarah Hammer (USA) goes right over Wadami Satomi (Japan), Verena Jooss (Germany) and Trine Schmidt (Denmark). (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Sarah Hammer (USA) in obvious pain after crashing in the points race.

Sarah Hammer (USA) in obvious pain after crashing in the points race. (Image credit: AFP)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) goes on the attack and ends up taking a lap

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) goes on the attack and ends up taking a lap (Image credit: AFP)
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Australia caught the Dutch squad's remnants on its way to

Australia caught the Dutch squad's remnants on its way to (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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I'm the Bos: Theo Bos (Netherlands) reacts to beating France's Kevin Sireau during the 1/8 finals of the men's sprint at the 2008 Olympic Games.

I'm the Bos: Theo Bos (Netherlands) reacts to beating France's Kevin Sireau during the 1/8 finals of the men's sprint at the 2008 Olympic Games. (Image credit: AFP)
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More Great gold: Great Britain's Rebecca Romero celebrates

More Great gold: Great Britain's Rebecca Romero celebrates (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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A focussed Chris Hoy set a new Olympic record in the 200m...

A focussed Chris Hoy set a new Olympic record in the 200m... (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Chris Hoy (Great Britain) has pleanty of practice at celebrating ahead of his home Olympic Games in 2012.

Chris Hoy (Great Britain) has pleanty of practice at celebrating ahead of his home Olympic Games in 2012. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Give us a hoy: Chris Hoy (Great Britain) stands proudly at the centre of the podium

Give us a hoy: Chris Hoy (Great Britain) stands proudly at the centre of the podium (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) waves the flowers on top of the Men's 4000m Individual Pursuit final podium.

Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) waves the flowers on top of the Men's 4000m Individual Pursuit final podium. (Image credit: AFP)
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German Rene Enders was emotional after helping his team

German Rene Enders was emotional after helping his team (Image credit: AFP)
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Frenchmen Kevin Sireau and Arnaud Tournant get some support from the boards

Frenchmen Kevin Sireau and Arnaud Tournant get some support from the boards (Image credit: AFP)
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Hard knock: Kamil Kuczynski (Poland) falls during the men's team sprint

Hard knock: Kamil Kuczynski (Poland) falls during the men's team sprint (Image credit: AFP)
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With two Tour de France time trial wins to his name German Stefan Schumacher was one of the big favourites

With two Tour de France time trial wins to his name German Stefan Schumacher was one of the big favourites (Image credit: AFP)
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Relief: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) enjoys his gold medal moment.

Relief: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) enjoys his gold medal moment. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) shows the strain

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) shows the strain (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Tounge wagging time: Denis Menchov (Russia) never found a rhythm

Tounge wagging time: Denis Menchov (Russia) never found a rhythm (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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USA's Levi Leipheimer ensured his homeland was on the podium in both the men's and women's time trials.

USA's Levi Leipheimer ensured his homeland was on the podium in both the men's and women's time trials. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) fought hard but couldn't pull out a medal winning ride.

Cadel Evans (Australia) fought hard but couldn't pull out a medal winning ride. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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She had a great effort in the road race but Nicole Cooke was completely exhausted

She had a great effort in the road race but Nicole Cooke was completely exhausted (Image credit: AFP)
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Golden farewell: Kristin Armstrong finished off her Olympic Games career on top.

Golden farewell: Kristin Armstrong finished off her Olympic Games career on top. (Image credit: AFP)
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Still got it: Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) may be 49 years of age, but she's still a medal contender.

Still got it: Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) may be 49 years of age, but she's still a medal contender. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Little legend: Days after doing her bit for Nicole Cooke's gold-winning road race campaign, Emma Pooley took her turn

Little legend: Days after doing her bit for Nicole Cooke's gold-winning road race campaign, Emma Pooley took her turn (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) came close to losing the Olympic Games road race, but instead stormed to victory.

Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) came close to losing the Olympic Games road race, but instead stormed to victory. (Image credit: AFP)
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Russia's Natalya Boyarskaya tried to get away on the finishing circuit.

Russia's Natalya Boyarskaya tried to get away on the finishing circuit. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) wipes away a day of intensive racing

Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) wipes away a day of intensive racing (Image credit: AFP)
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Women's road race medal winners Emma Johansson (Sweden), Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)

Women's road race medal winners Emma Johansson (Sweden), Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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There might not have been many fans on the finishing curcuit, but the Spanish fans were

There might not have been many fans on the finishing curcuit, but the Spanish fans were (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Samuel Sánchez (Spain) can't believe he just won the gold medal.

Samuel Sánchez (Spain) can't believe he just won the gold medal. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) leads Fabian Wegmann (Germany) through the great arch

Paolo Bettini (Italy) leads Fabian Wegmann (Germany) through the great arch (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Wet patch: Riders pass through the showers that were set up to keep body temperatures cool.

Wet patch: Riders pass through the showers that were set up to keep body temperatures cool. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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At 30 years of age Samuel Sánchez (Spain) couldn't believe

At 30 years of age Samuel Sánchez (Spain) couldn't believe (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Riders pass Tiananmen Gate at the start of the race.

Riders pass Tiananmen Gate at the start of the race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bradley Wiggins listens to some beats while warming up for Great Britain's training session.

Bradley Wiggins listens to some beats while warming up for Great Britain's training session. (Image credit: AFP)
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USA riders stired up a media dust storm when they arrived in Beijing

USA riders stired up a media dust storm when they arrived in Beijing (Image credit: AFP)
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After a poor performance in the Olympic Games time trial, we wonder if Stefan Schumacher (R) regretted his

After a poor performance in the Olympic Games time trial, we wonder if Stefan Schumacher (R) regretted his (Image credit: AFP)
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He was the defending champion but Paolo Bettini showed little signs of pressure when he arrived in Beijing

He was the defending champion but Paolo Bettini showed little signs of pressure when he arrived in Beijing (Image credit: AFP)
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New Zealand's Timothy Gudsell has some fun celebrating his 'victory' at the finish line

New Zealand's Timothy Gudsell has some fun celebrating his 'victory' at the finish line (Image credit: AFP)

Tales from the peloton, August 25, 2008

Hopes have been dashed, records smashed and now the cleaners are mopping up the aftermath of Beijing Olympic Games' after party. As those athletes who stayed in China for yesterday's farewell bash start making their respective ways home, we re-live some of the highs and lows of this Olympiad.

Great Britain proved dominant not only on the track, but also strong on the road with Nicole Cooke taking the women's road race victory while compatriot Emma Pooley hooked silver in the Time Trial. The Spaniards did what was expected in the men's road race, although few thought it would be Samuel Sánchez to take gold for the nation. Meanwhile the Swiss-clock Fabian Cancellara performed like, um, clockwork to take bronze in the road race and a brilliant Time Trial gold medal.

While neither the men's nor women's teams from North America were able to jag a road race placing, both squads faired well in the Time Trials. Kristin Armstrong took out the women's gold while Levi Leipheimer was delighted with his bronze. The Americans also placed well in BMX's debut, with three medals between the men and women, but it was Frenchwomen Anne-Caroline Chausson and Latvia's Maris Strombergs that took home the discipline's first Olympic gold medals.

The fortnight of action finished off on Saturday with a mountain biking double, after the women's race was postponed due to a heavy downpour. The shower did little to dampen Sabine Spitz's (Germany) spirits as she claimed the women's race a few hours before Frenchman Julien Absalon claimed the Beijing's final cycling gold medal.

As the sun goes down on China's Olympiad, enjoy re-living the memories with our highlight gallery below. In just four short years, we will be converging on Great Britain where, in between intermediate showers, the sun will rise on London 2012.