Men's Olympic road race starts

Aug. 08, 2008, 11:13 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The men's Olympic cycling road race has started on the first morning of full competition.

A total of 143 competitors from 54 countries have left the start line in central Beijing for a 245.4-kilometer (152.5-mile) race that will take them past Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and other landmarks before they ride out of the city for seven punishing laps of a hilly loop course between two points on the Great Wall.

The finish is at Juyongguan, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) outside Beijing. The race is expected to take about seven hours.