Olympics 2012: Highlighting Indoor Cycling Medal Favorites

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 1, 2012

Olympics 2012: Highlighting Indoor Cycling Medal Favorites

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    With road cycling coming to a close on Wednesday, the cycling program heads indoors to the London Velodrome on Thursday.

    Over the next six days at the venue nicknamed "The Pringle" because of its design, the world's top track cycling individuals and teams will compete.

    In the history of the Olympics, France are the most successful cycling nation with 86 medals, followed by Great Britain with 63.

    Both nations, along with Australia, are favorites to earn more medals in London.

    Here is a preview of the 10 track cycling events at The Pringle in London.

Women's Team Sprint

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    The biggest rivalry in indoor cycling will start its London chapter in the women's team sprint on Thursday.

    Anna Meares will lead Australia while her top competitor in individual events, Victoria Pendleton, will lead Great Britain.

    Look for the Aussies and the Brits to be the main contenders in this event, as Britain looks to use their cycling momentum from former indoor star Bradley Wiggins to boost team spirits over the next week.

Men's Team Sprint

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    The men's team sprint will take place right after the women's event on Thursday and the host nation will once again be in medal contention.

    The favorites in this race are the French, who are led by world sprint champions Gregory Bauge.

    World-champions Germany, as well as Australia, will be among the favorites to win.

Men's Team Pursuit

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    The Great Britain-Australia indoor rivalry will continue to rear its head on Friday in the men's team pursuit.

    The Aussies have been the best team since Beijing, but were upset by the British, who set a new world record, at the 2012 UCI World Championships.

    Look for Australia to avenge their loss in April and win the gold medal, but they must be wary of the Brits yet again.

Women's Keirin

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    The other final that will be contested on Friday will be the women's keirin competition.

    The keirin event is a mass sprint around the velodrome, the final consists of as many as nine riders.

    Australia's Anna Meares is the two-time defending World Champion and should be the favorite in this race.

Women's Team Pursuit

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    The only indoor medal being given out on Saturday is the women's team pursuit.

    This is one of the few indoor events where the USA are a medal favorite.

    Along with the usual suspects, Australia and Great Britain, the other medal contender in the pursuit will be New Zealand.

Men's Omnium

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    The omnium is the toughest of indoor cycling discipline consisting of six different events.

    The six events are the flying lap, points race, elimination race, individual pursuit, scratch race and time trial.

    Three events are held each day with the final three being held on Sunday, when the medals for the men's event are awarded.

    Britain's medal hope in this event is Ed Clancy, who won the flying lap and time trial at the World Championships this year.

    The medal favorites for this race are Glenn O'Shea of Australia and Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark.

Men's Sprint

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    Monday's only indoor cycling final will be the men's team sprint.

    Great Britain has a chance to win the gold medal with Jason Kenny, but he will face stiff competition from France's Gregory Bauge.

    British legend Sir Chris Hoy will not be participating in this event as expected, so that means more pressure will be on Kenny's shoulders to win the event for the host nation.

Women's Omnium

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    Tuesday is the final day of indoor cycling, and it will be the day where the most medals are handed out at The Pringle.

    The women's omnium will be the first medal contested for on Tuesday with 19-year-old Laura Trott of Great Britain being the favorite.

    As always in an indoor cycling event for every British favorite, there is an Australian favorite as well.

    The Aussie favorite in this event is Annette Edmonson.

    America's Sarah Hammer will also be in medal contention.

Women's Sprint

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    The women's sprint will be he final duel between Meares and Pendleton in London.

    Pendleton is the World Champion at this event and Meares is her top contender for gold.

    However, look out for Lithuania's Simona Krupeckaite to contend for the gold as well.

Men's Keirin

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    The final medals of indoor cycling in London will be awarded in the men's keirin event.

    The man to beat in the keirin is Sir Chris Hoy, who will look for his second straight gold medal in the event and a medal in four straight Olympics.

    British rider Jason Kenny will be Hoy's biggest challenger, as the Brits are locks to win this event.