The Commonwealth Games are something that are pretty specific, but if you’re not a Commonwealth country, Glasgow 2014 will still be a lot of fun to watch – and it’s live cycling, which is always great, especially for track fans, despite the lack of parity, and I’ll tell you how to watch it. Aschwin Kruders of WielerVideo asked Lizzie Armitstead and Gracie Elvin to explain the Games
So “the friendly games” are a way to link countries that are connected by something that people like me find quite embarrassing – they’re all countries that are in the 53 Commonwealth countries that used to be part of the British empire but the Commonwealth is about trying to make some good come from that bloody part of history. So Anglophone countries like Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, as well as countries like India, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, Nigeria etc – see the full list. One of the things that makes it interesting in terms of cycling is that there’s no Great Britain in the Games – instead England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man.
There are three strands of cycling in the Games – track, including very limited para-cycling, MTB and road. All times are in UK BST – so 1 hour behind Europe CEST, 9 hours behind Australian AEST, 5 hours ahead of USA EST & 8 ahead of USA PST – I’ll tell you about the disciplines first, and scroll down for watching live.
The track runs from Thursday 24th – and it’s bizarre, I have no idea why, but while the men race all the World Champs events except the madison and omnium, the women don’t get to race the Team Pursuit, Keirin and Team Sprint. It can’t be because of “small nation” issues, because in the Team Pursuit, the only team not in the top 5 of nations is the USA, and Aus, NZ and Canada are huge countries, while if anything, racing as the composite GB nations give us even more top teams, while the men get to race but without some of the real powerhouse countries like Denmark, Russia and Spain. I have given up trying to understand this.
It is the first year we get some Para-cycling, however. Para-sports have only been in the Commonwealths since 2002, and they’ve been increasing every time – this year 22 medals across 5 sports, and track cycling is one of them. However, they’re still limited to the number of medals, so it’s not the full range of Para-cycling, instead just Tandem cycling – women and men, in the sprint and kilo. If you’ve never seen Tandem sprinting, I really, really recommend it – it’s all the same speed and track skills of able-bodied sprinting, but with a Visually Impaired stoker and a sighted pilot on a tandem, having to work in synch to get the speed and throw their weight into the corners without disaster, and needing to trust each other completely. It genuinely might be my favourite track discipline ever, even if I can only watch from behind the sofa, because it’s incredible how those riders don’t crash hideously!
Here are the schedules, and results will go up on these pages – and click on the name of each event for the startlists – you may need, once you’ve got to the first link, to click on the relevant day’s results on the drop-down menu.
- Thursday 24th July – women’s 500m; women’s Tandem Sprint early rounds; men’s Sprint early rounds, Team Pursuit, Team Sprint.
- Friday 25th July – women’s Individual Pursuit; men’s Tandem kilo; men’s Sprint finals, Individual Pursuit, Kilo.
- Saturday 26th July – women’s Sprint early rounds, Scratch; men’s Tandem Sprint; Men’s Points
- Sunday 27th July – women’s Sprint finals and Points; women’s Tandem Kilo; men’s Scratch, Kirin.
UPDATE! That results page is pretty hard to work out – so I’m using the BBC Commonwealths page for all the results of the heats etc. They’re adding everything, including heats, as it happens on this page – scroll down for the day and the sport, it’s all straightforward.
The women’s and men’s cross country MTB races are on 29th July – and among the women I’m expecting either Catharine Pendrel or Emily Batty of Canada to win, with Bec Henderson and Peta Mullens of Australia, and Annie Last of England to challenge for podium spots. The women’s race starts at 11:30am (8:30pm AUS AEST, 12:30 CEST, 7:30am USA EST), the men’s at 2pm. Here are the details of the Cathkin Braes location – and here’s some even better info from Glasgow City Council and a very detailed course description. The startlists will turn up here for the women and men.
UPDATE! The BBC live stream for both races will be here – see below for how to watch if you’re not in the UK.
2 events each for the women and men – the ITTs on 31st July, starting at 10am for the women (11:00 CEST, 7pm Aus AEST, 5am USA EST) and 12:30pm for the men and the Road Races on 3rd August, starting 8am for the women (09:00 CEST, 5pm Aus AEST, 3am USA EST) and 12pm for the men, all in the Glasgow city centre (click through for the startlists at some point).
There are a ton of pro riders racing, including Lizzie Armitstead, who won the National Championships on the same course in 2013, supported by 2010 ITT World Champion Emma Pooley and 2 times Junior Road Champion Lucy Garner for England; Tiffany Cromwell and Chloe Hosking as part of the crazy-strong Australia, and racing opportunistically, Ashleigh Moolman for South Africa and Linda Villumsen of New Zealand – while we can never discount this year’s UK domestic superstar Katie Archibald, who’s been on the podium pretty much everywhere and is riding for the home team, Scotland. Here’s the startlist for the women’s and men’s ITT and the BBC stream will be here on the day.
UPDATE! Google found me the course maps! Here’s the press announcement about them. The ITT course is 30km for the women’s and 40km for the men, and there’s more info about the courses in here (thankyou Martin!), and info on Road.cc – the women ride 7 laps of the 14km course, 98km in total. It’s the same course used in the 2013 Nationals – here’s some video:
Startlists are coming out very, very late, so hopefully we’ll see the road race startlists here for the women’s race and here for the men – ideally before the the race starts, but don’t get your hopes up too high….
How to watch live
If you’re in a Commonwealth country, check your tv schedule for local times – here’s the list of which broadcasters have the rights in different countries, for example Ten one and TenPlay in Australia or SuperSport in South Africa. You’ll notice that for a lot of countries, there’ll be a livestream of the Commonwealths selected action on the Commonwealth Games youtube – each day’s stream goes up just before it’s due to start, eg the Day 1 stream) and if the live streams are geo-restricted in your country, add Hola or Tunnelbear and set yourself to somewhere like Argentina or Belgium and try again (you can turn TB off as soon as the stream starts to save your allocation). This YT is also featuring video highlights clips from a lot of the events – again, these are georestricted in a lot of countries, but Hola is your friend!
In the UK it’s all on the BBC – here’s the schedule of what they’ll show, and here’s the BBC Glasgow 2014 hub, which will have links to what’s streamed live for UK people (or people who can see it in other ways…) and any live cycling will be linked to from the BBC Sport Cycling page as it happens – and if you open that page up it’ll tell you what will be streamed live on that day (eg on 24th July the first session of track cycling will be streamed here between 11am-2pm, and I got there via that page). There will also be highlights videos from the cycling and para-cycling on the BBC Cycling page – scroll down, geo-restrictions might apply)
I’ll be on the lookout for videos, and will put up anything I see up on the blog after the Games – track, MTB and road posts. If you have any questions, ask me on twitter or in the comments and I’ll do my best to help!