London 2012 Olympic Games Cycling men’s road race: Live blog, updates
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Australian team members Michael Rogers, left, Stuart O'Grady, Matthew Goss and Daniel McConnell after a training session in Horsley, outside London. Source: AAP
Please join us for live blogging of the Olympic Games Men’s Road Race. Live coverage will begin at 6.15pm AEST with comments added to this post as the race progresses.
Last night, the opening ceremony kicked off the 2012 London Olympic Games in emphatic style. It is already time for the first cycling gold medal to be decided.
145 riders from 63 countries will start the race. Covering a distance of 250km, through six of London’s boroughs, riders will be in the saddle for about six hours.
The host nation has assembled a particularly strong team, including sprint juggernaut Mark Cavendish and Tour de France heroes Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
Cavendish won three stages at the just completed 2012 Tour de France. Wiggins and Froome were first and second overall. Beat that, everyone else. It will be hard.
David Millar, also the winner of a stage at this year’s Tour, is another big name on the enviable British roster.
Cavendish, surely the favourite in the relatively flat terrain of his home soil, has voiced his desire to win Olympic gold throughout the season.
Some have questioned his decision to finish two three-week Grand Tours this season, the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. Will he be fatigued? We find out tonight.
Australia has also put together a potential gold medal winning selection.
Cadel Evans is there, but Matt Goss is likely to be the focal point should the race end in the widely predicted bunch sprint.
Evans and Goss are joined by six-time, that’s right, six-time Olympian Stuart O’Grady and the ever-reliable Simon Gerrans and Michael Rogers.
Other men to watch include Andre Greipel (Germany), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Tom Boonen (Belgium) and Peter Sagan (Slovakia).
Should Sagan win, it would be a story for the ages. On the back of three stage wins at the Tour, the 22-year-old is riding the road race without teammates.
The Box Hill circuit is the key point on the course, and is to be ridden nine times. It includes the roughly 2.6km climb up Box Hill proper along Zig Zag Road, which has an average gradient of 4.9%.
Although this notable climb poses a significant challenge to the sprinters, the 15km after its summit should allow the power men to re-join the peloton on each lap, should they find themselves in difficulty.
The Men’s Road Race is Cavendish’s to lose. Join us from 6.15pm AEST as we cover the race as it unfolds.
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