With so much success in the Beijing Olympics, it is not surprising that the British population is getting excited over the prospect of hosting the cycling tournaments in 2012. Cycling was first used as a means of getting around; since the use of bicycles in the early 1800s, they have grown in popularity with the first race recorded in Paris in 1868. This race was run over 1.25 miles and was the start of modern cycling races as we see them today.
Cycling comes in many forms in the modern Olympics; the road race is held over 150 miles for men and 75 miles for women with the first to come across the finish line being declared the winner. Time trials are also conducted on the road and are held over a much shorter distance.
On the track, cyclists compete in the Velodrome where they pass around a circular course of 250metres in an anti-clockwise direction. With multiple events of varying lengths the track cycling generally attracts huge levels of spectators.
Mountain biking competitions are held over rougher terrain over distances of between 30 kilometres and 50 kilometres. BMX is also now a sport having being added in 2008 and is competed over short outdoor tracks where a certain number of laps are undertaken. Road racing became an Olympic event in 1896 with mountain biking following a century later in 1996.
Official Link: http://www.london2012.com/games/olympic-sports/cycling-mountain-bike.php