Riding nearly 250 kilometers, with steep climbs through dense smog in the mountains near Beijing, Samuel Sanchez of Spain came out of the race with one of the first gold medals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The 6.5-hour race was grueling for cyclists and photographers alike, with shooters from around the world working all day in the heat, required to wear heavy vests while shooting from photo positions. Photographers moved from location to location, searching for the best angle as cyclists rode seven laps around a section of the Great Wall.
At past Olympics, white Canon lenses dominated photo positions at the venues -- but this year, with the release of their D3 digital SLR, Nikon is making a significant comeback. Former Canon shooters have made the switch to Nikon in order to stay on the cutting edge, taking advantage of improved focusing and better image quality. Photographers packed the photo workroom and sideline positions today during the most popular road cycling event. The women’s road race will follow tomorrow, with individual time trials to be held on Wednesday.