The Olympic cycling road race takes place on Saturday the 6th of August, starting and finishing on the Copacabana and taking the riders over a course of 237kms up and down the coast south of Rio de Janeiro. Here's our betting preview on this event.
For Rio Summer Games, the Cycling Road Race takes places this Saturday. It’s an unusual event in cycling as there is just a max of five riders per country and in some countries cases, there are just single riders. This makes it a very hard race to control as GB found the last time around in the London games.
The route is made up of two circuits, one after about 50kms which contain the 1.3km, 9.4% climb of the Grumari and 100kms later they enter the Canoas/Vista Chinesa Circuit. The riders will have to do three laps of this circuit, taking in the 8.9km climb of the Vista Chinesa, which averages 6.2%, but that average gradient is very deceptive as there are some seriously steep parts in the first 4kms of the climb, followed, by a descent for a kilometre. The last 3.9kms of the climb average a much steadier 5.9%. Once over the top of the Vista Chinesa for the final time, there is a 12km flat run-in to the finish.
Spain has lots of strong riders in with chances here, but I think Valverde is too short at 9/2. Ion Izagirre, his team-mate at 66/1 could be a good outsider who might surprise as everyone watches Valverde. Joaquim Rodriguez won’t win it with the flat run in like it is.
Italy have two very strong candidates on paper in Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru, but I’m not interested in either of them, I just don’t think they are in the best of form right now and the flat finish doesn’t suit them.
Colombia has a crack squad here with Esteban Chaves, Jarlinson Pantano, Miguel Angel Lopez, Sergio Henao and Rigo Uran. Lots of leaders though and not too many workers, but I think Pantano might be their best hope with his strong descending skills and good sprint.
GB have the Tour de France winner Chris Froome, but I don’t think he will be winning, Adam Yates disappointed in the Clasica San Sebastian, but Geraint Thomas might be able to slip away late on.
Holland has Tom Dumoulin, Serge Pauwels, Woet Poels, Bauke Mollema and Steven Kruijswijk, but I don’t think Dumoulin will be doing much with the Time Trial on Wednesday. Bauke Mollema has a solid chance as he is clearly in great shape.
France has a very strong team here too but would have preferred the race to finish at the top of the final climb and not after a 12km flat run to the finish. Julian Alaphilippe might have a chance if he can hang in there on the final climb, Roman Bardet may attack early, but I can’t see France winning it.
Of the other nations, Rui Costa for Portugal will like this course and distance, he won a World Championships on a similar sort, of course, a few years ago. Dan Martin and Nicholas Roche would have chances for Ireland and Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert might have chances if they can hang in there over the tough parts of the final climb. Michael Albasini could have a chance for Switzerland, as could Darryl Impey for South Africa.
I’m leaning towards Rui Costa and Bauke Mollema though being in a small group that escapes on the final lap, with Ion Izagirre as a big priced outsider with a chance of being there too.
Free Olympic Cycling Picks:
1pt each-way on Rui Costa at 20/1
0.5pts each-way on Bauke Mollema at 40/1
0.3pts each-way on Ion Izagirre at 66/1