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    Cycling and the Olympics

    Taken from the Blazing Saddles Column in the Tayside Courier Weekend Supplement 9.6.12

    Scot Tares gets all fired up as the Olympic Torch comes to Courier country

    “There is something in the Olympics, indefinable, springing from the soul that must be preserved.” – Chris Brasher

    I am starting to get very excited about the Olympics; come the 27th July 2012 I will be glued to my television set. Cycling has a long history with the Olympics. Indeed it is one of a few select sports that have appeared in every Olympic Games of the modern era that were first held in Athens in 1896, but I would happily watch dominoes if it was an Olympic sport; there is something about the spectacle that lures me in and I know exactly where Chris Brasher is coming from in the quote above. To whet my appetite, my family and I will be heading out to see the Olympic Torch as it passes through Tayside on Tuesday 12th June. My kids are very excited and I feel quite proud, despite our family not being able to get tickets for any events, that they will still be able to partake in a little bit of history being made and they too may feel that “indefinable, springing from the soul”. My daughter is particularly excited about seeing Chris Hoy winning Gold again. She sat on my knee, four years ago, aged two, not quite understanding, but getting caught up in my excitement as the British cycling team swept the board of medals.

    The Great Britain Team has become an indomitable force in the sport of cycling, and not just on the track; our female and male cyclists lead the world in all Olympic and Paralympic disciplines and it would take a brave person to bet against the GB team taking another hefty haul of medals on home soil in 2012. However, don’t expect our cyclists to medal more than once in each event. The Union Cycliste International (UCI), who are the sport of cycling’s governing body, have taken the unprecedented step of only allowing one athlete from each nation to take part in each event, even if that nation has two or more of the top riders in the world in that event. This is particularly frustrating for the British team, with their strength in depth. It is a move that would be similar to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) saying to the 100 metre sprinters that only one sprinter was allowed to compete; could you imagine the athletes from Jamaica and the USA swallowing that one? Furthermore, it would also detract from the spectacle of the event as you would not have all the world’s best sprinters in one race. So the spectacle of the cycling events may be tarnished slightly, but I’m not going to let that dampen my enthusiasm for what I’m sure is going to be a stunning Olympic Games.

    The Olympic Torch will be heading from Aberdeen, down through Angus, Perth and Kinross and into Dundee and Fife on the 12th and 13th of June. Many of the roads in these areas are worth cycling, but the route below is a good steady ride, suitable for all. Why not give it a go to get into the spirit of the games?

    Scot Tares

    Cycle Route – Forfar to Perth

    Grade: Moderate – On road route
    Start & FinishForfar – Perth
    Route:The Olympic torch will be going from Forfar to Perth following the A94, between 11.30am and 3pm
    Distance:29 miles

    Copyright DC Thompson 2012