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Olympics Daily: Saturday July 28
Aside from the poor old women's football, shunted outside the opening ceremony, today's the start of Olympics proper. Here's what you shouldn't miss.
Mark Cavendish: going for gold
Will Team GB win a medal today? We're going to stick our neck out and say yes. At least one. There's swimmer Hannah Miley in the 400m medley as well as the 4x100 freestyle relay women's team. And there's Mark Cavendish (see below)
The one to read: Our favourite review of last night's opening ceremonies (so far) is this from the Independent. The Mail says Becks was the star of the ceremony, while the Guardian has a round up of the reaction from abroad . You can see our pick of the local reaction on Twitter here and, of course, let us know what you thought in the comments here .
The one to watch: For road cycling fans, nothing will make the heart sing like the sight of Bradley Wiggins in yellow swooping down the Champs Elysee to lead world champion Mark Cavendish to a record-breaking fourth win in Paris , bagging a historic first Tour de France win in the process.
But. Today Wiggo has the chance to pay Cav back for his part in le Tour, and my goodness would we not like that.
In brief, for those who find the world of the peleton confusing: Mark Cavendish, recently voted the greatest sprint cyclist ever , world champion , Sports Personality of the Year and holder of the green jersey in last year’s Tour de France, spent the three weeks of this year’s Tour carrying water, ferrying rain jackets and wearing himself out leading the race, so that Brad Wiggins had the best shot he could at the yellow leader’s jersey. He gave up all chance of keeping his green jersey and almost any chance of winning stages, to be part of Team Sky’s monumental win.
This morning three members of Team Sky, with the addition of David Millar (of whom more later) will do the same for him, with the aim of delivering Cav to within sprinting distance of the finishing line.
Cycling is perhaps the noblest of sports in this regard: a team working to their utmost to give just one rider the chance of glory. And make no mistake: those four will give everything they have to get Cav that gold.
And David Millar? Well, he’s the rarest of beasts; a cyclist banned for cheating who’s spent the years since his ban trying to clean up his sport. He helped found cycling’s first actively anti-doping team and would have been on Team Sky if it hadn’t been for their pledge not to hire riders with a drugs ban on their record. He thought he’d never get to ride in the Olympics either, but today is his day too.
Cav himself has spent the last year redesigning his body shape to be able to handle the nine circuits of Box Hill the course demands. He's the only member of the GB track cycling team who didn't get one in Bejiing, and is determined not to suffer that again. There are those who think he’s given up some of his speed in the process: they’re wrong, as this:
and this proves.
It starts at 10am. Allez allez allez!
If you like this then watch: Tomorrow sees the women’s road race team try to grab gold. There’s been drama aplenty here too, with two potential contenders for the gold medal – Nicole Cooke and Lizzie Armistead - and a well publicised spat between them to add speed to their pedals. And then of course there’s Colonel Wiggo himself, going for gold in the individual time trial on Wednesday. Get your sideburns ready.. ..