Trek: Trek At The Olympics: Part One

2008/08/09

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In 2004, Trek entered the Chinese market by opening a subsidiary office in Beijing. Today, Trek has more than 215 points of sale dotting the country. Having “insiders” on the ground in Beijing means we’ve got a rare opportunity to hear a first-hand Olympic perspective from a local Trek cyclist. With the Olympics well underway, here’s the report sent in by Trek’s Beijing office:

At long last the Olympics have kicked off. For many across China, Friday 8-8-08 marked a new day for the country—a chance to turn a page and show the world a new face.

Trek China celebrated the opening ceremonies as a team in the lounge at one of our Trek Concept Stores, and later a few of the team ended up outside the Olympic Stadium to enjoy the fireworks. Stay tuned for regular updates from the Olympics—live on the ground in Beijing.

Day 1-
As in past Olympics, the men's road race was one of the first competitions. However, unlike past Olympics, the Beijing course was found to be one of the most challenging ever. For this the athletes had none other than our own Trek China General Manager Todd McKean to thank. Three years ago, following several trips to China, officials from the International Cycling Union (UCI) were no closer to confirming a road course. Todd, having lived and ridden in China for many years, was asked to provide course suggestions and what resulted is this year’s Olympic Road course. The course started in downtown Beijing with a promenade past many historic sites. They then raced approx 75km out to the BaDaLing section of the Great Wall for 7 laps of a 24.5km circuit. Each circuit started with a challenging 11+km climb averaging 4%, but with several very steep short sections. Once at the top of the circuit the course cut through the Great Wall, and turned onto a motorway for an 11+km descent back to the bottom of the circuit. While downhill sections usually offer some rest, this downhill has a perpetually strong headwind. Powering through this section during the time trial will prove decisive.

Although they did not come away with any hardware, the US men rode very well, with each of them at one time or another animating the race.  Jason McCartney, former Discovery Channel Team member and winner of Stage 14 at the 2007 Vuelta Espana, was particularly impressive.  He was on the front for several circuits and was instrumental in bringing back the 20+ rider break that at one point had 5+ min on the rest of the field. 

Levi Leipheimer, Astana Pro Cycling and Trek-athlete, was just behind the lead group coming into the last 300m.  Levi commented, “we had dropped Cancellara on the climb, but he came past us like a freight train on the downhill and it was impossible to get onto his wheel.”  Although out of the top placings, Levi had a great race and said he really loved the course.  We look forward to seeing how he does in the time trial, his specialty, on the 13th.

>>Read The Prologue>>