It’s an exciting time of year for road cycling enthusiasts. The Tour de France is in full swing and, with two events for both men and women, the London Olympics has plenty to offer.
Mens Road Race
The quality of a road race will always be determined by the quality of the course, fortunately the race organizers have delivered. At 250KM the journey from the mal in Central London to Box Hill in the city’s south will push rider to their limits.
Unlike the majority of the cycling season riders will be divided into teams by nationality rather than ‘allegiance’ to corporate sponsored and named squads.
With star riders separated from team-mates long accustomed to serving their every need countries must find a conventional team structure from the riders available to them.
In 2008 Spaniard Sammy Sanchez took Gold. Sanchez, a perennial challenger at the major European tours, has a good chance of repeating the feat in London. Despite a nasty crash on stage eight of the Tour de France forcing him to withdraw from the event, Sanchez will thrive on the repeated descents of Box Hill.
Home –town hopes will be pinned to Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. Wiggins, currently well clear in the Tour de France general classification, is in career best form. A former mountain biker, Wiggins will be more than comfortable on the courses numerous inclines and declines.
As opposed to the mass start in the Road Race riders will start at 90 second intervals to attack the 44KM course. Starting and finishing in Hampton Court Palace in London’s southwest, the course will loop thought Richmond and parts of Surry.
Road time-trials tend to be the domain of specialist riders, taller physics capable of sustaining massive amounts of power for 40-60KM.
2008 Gold Medal winner Fabian Cancellara will enter the race as favorite. The four-time World Time Trial champion has consistently seen his name at the top of leader boards throughout his career. At 31 this may be the Swiss riders last chance to add to his Gold Medal tally.
If Cancellara is the tried and tested pro then Tony Martin is the young upstart. The German won a UCI Time Trial championship in 2011 while claiming stages in the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana the same year. Martin would be hugely disappointed to leave London without his first Olympic medal.
No one has ever won the road race and time-trial gold in the same Olympic year. England’s Bradley Wiggins is more than ready to claim both titles on his home turf. An accomplished time-trialist Wiggins won the stage nine time trial at this years Tour de France ahead of both Martin and Cancellara, vaulting him into the yellow jersey.