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Road race course one of the greatest
10:24, August 08, 2008

A peloton containing some of the world's biggest cycling names will become the most privileged tourists in Beijing on Saturday.

Yet their sightseeing possibilities will be kept to a strict minimum as they buzz past some of the city's most famous landmarks on their way to racing for glory in the men's Olympic road race.

Starting in the ancient quarter of Yongdingmen the race snakes its way through the urban centre passing the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and a number of other famous historical sights.

The peloton then hits the Badaling Expressway - which is likely to be the scene of a number of attacks and counter-attacks - and after a relatively flat 78.8km will arrive at the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall.

It is here that things should start to get interesting.

From Juyongguan the course becomes a hilly 23.8km loop which ends at the Badaling Great Wall. Featuring the race's main climb to be raced a total of seven times by the men, the closing stages of the race feature ramps with gradients up to 10 percent.

The challenging ascent up the narrow Badaling Pass road by the Great Wall is the key feature of both the men's and women's road races, and will also prove decisive in both time trial tests.

It gains 338.2 meters in elevation over a distance of 12.4km. It is also narrow, two-laned and should invite plenty of attacks. The steepest ramps feature in the middle section and the final 1.5km.

After a false flat at the summit, the course drops down a wide open highway section towards the Juyongguan Pass finish line. After two sweeping, and potentially crucial, turns in the final kilometer the final 350 meters is up a short but moderately steep climb that passes under the south Gate of the Great Wall.

Source:China Daily/Agencies

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