Cycling is a sport that is divided into many different categories. In the island games, we have Road Racing, a Time Trial, and the criterium, and Mountain-bike racing, both cross country and criterium. Let’s take a look at what they’re all about.
This is exactly what it sounds like – racing along existing roads of whichever island is hosting the games. Obviously, these roads, the route of which will be circular, are closed for the race!
International events range from short Junior races of an hour or less, through one day classics of over 250km like Paris-Roubaix, to perhaps the most famous road race of them all, the Tour de France which involves some 3,500km around France for three weeks every summer.
This year in Rhodes, the Road Race will start at Lindos where cyclists will head to Pefkos before following a coastal route through Gennadi and Vati.
Cyclists will then start a climb towards the village of Profilia and will descend to Apolakia, they will complete two loops of this ascent and descent before heading onling the coast southwards towards Katavia.
Competitors will then head back to Gennadi where they will retrace the beginning of the race back to the finish in Pefkos.
In the early days of cycle racing, road racing was frowned upon by motorists and the authorities, to the extent that it was decided that all competition would be taken off the road and only take place on closed circuits. Events of all distances even up to 24 hours duration, were thus transferred to tracks.
But there were cyclists who still wanted to pursue their sport on the open road. So a cunning plan was hatched. If each rider were to despatched separately and just timed over the course, it wouldn't be seen to be racing, just going about normal business , but a bit faster perhaps than normal. Then the person covering the course in the shortest time could be declared the winner.
And that’s the basis of the Time-trial, which in Rhodes in 2007, will be a return trip between the start at Gennadi and Lardos via Kiotari.
Ladies will turn at 9 km and men at 10.6km. They will go out and back twice for a total distance of 36km for the women and 42.4 for the men.
This is the ever-popular climax to the Island Games, traditionally the last event to take place. The course is normally around a town centre, and provides a thrilling spectacle for cyclists and spectators.
If you’ve never seen cycle racing around a short, tight, around-town course, then this year’s race around the capital Rhodes Town will be an occasion not to be missed.
The competitors will complete laps of Rhodes Town and will start and finish at Mandraki Harbour.
The route includes a number of punchy left and right turns and one ascent and steep descent.
Mountain biking – Cross Country
Endurance, fitness and machine control all combine to make a top Cross-Country rider. It’s competed on a marked lap (typically one to three miles) with climbing, descending, single-track and technical sections of tight turns and difficult terrain. Cross-country bikes are ultra-lightweight with front and sometimes rear suspension.
Cross-Country mountain biking became an Olympic sport in 1996. Mountain biking is a relatively young sport – it started in the USA in the early eighties. Ten years later, in 1994, mountain bikes made up 66% of adult bikes sold in the UK.
In the 2007 Island Games, the competition will be held at Ayia Soulas which is 27km south of the capital Rhodes Town.
The course is 4.5km long and includes forest trails, gravel track with a steep singletrack descent at the end of each lap.
The surface will be very dry, dusty and hard in the mid-summer conditions.
Mountain Biking - Criterium
Mountain-bikers will complete several laps of a 950m circuit of dirt trails and gravel track.