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London here we come

Discussion in 'Cycling' started by Gibbo, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Gibbo Ron Walden (29)

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    So How are Australia's Olympic Road Race Team looking..

    The Team will be made up of
    Stuart O'Grady - Orica Green Edge
    Simon Gerrrans - Orica-Green Edge
    Michael Rogers - Team Sky
    Cadel Evans - BMC
    Matt Goss - Orica-Green Edge

    I can see the London Road race going the same way as the GEelong World Champs in 2010. A few strong break aways - but this course is build for a sprint finish - mainly for Mark Cavendish ;)

    The three team seniors from Orica Green Edge are going to make a tough group to beat in a bunch finish - Matt Goss will be lead out well in the last stretch by Gerrans. O'grady can provide the leadership in the last 2000m that will protect Goss and Gerrans into final lead out.

    Goss seems to have had the pinch on Sagan in the past few sprints (minus the deserved caning he took for the finish in last nights stage) in the Tour de France so hopefully he is peaking at the right time. If Renshaw was fit he may have challenged O'Grady for a spot. Renshaw, Gerrans, Goss is a formidable thought. But 5 olympics worth of experience is hard to knock back. Gerrans is astute and won't be pushed around by the British, Sagan or the French in the lead up to a sprint finish. They've had plenty of time together this year and I think O'Grady's decision to join Green Edge would certainly have been influenced by the prospect of riding with Goss and Gerrans in London.

    With no Matt Renshaw on lead-out, Mark Cavendish hasn't looked the same - although he has been doing a lot of work for Brad Wiggins in the GC classification having dropped some serious weight to get over these hills. I think that the Gerrans O'grady combo along with Matt Goss will result in an incredibly strong sprint Finish team that can take it to anyone.

    Evans and BMC has tried one massive attack in the TDF stage from hell on Thursday night and looked to be cycling in mud. I thought as he attacked from the peleton to catch up the team mate TJ he looked sluggish, TJ took off at the rate of knots, Cadel started to tire 2-3 minutes into the break.

    Last but not least is Rogers. If I were picking a team today on form I would probably make the hard decision and drop Evans for Richie Porte - but Richie missed the team and so be it. Porte and Rogers have been the silent assassins in this year's TDF. It was Porte and Rogers in the first Mountain stage that took the legs out from under Cadel Evans' BMC team mates toward the end of the climb. Froome and Wiggins benefitted but it was the work of the two Aussies that did the damage on the hard 12-14% climb sections.

    Rogers said on twitter he was putting out 500w for the whole time he was on the front. Career best numbers. This bodes well if he is required to sit at the front and chase down any break aways. I don't expect Rogers to win - but we will spend a lot of time on the front working with Cadel Evans to keep the tempo high - If Cadel can keep up - just joking.

    I'll review in the coming days and I'll look at how the 3-4 big countries will line up against the Aussies. I'll also keep an eye on a few smokeys that might make a big play during the Olympic Road race and Time Trials..The Track races are a whole other ball game - I'll leave that to someone else.
    tigerland12 and The_Brown_Hornet like this.
  2. GlobeTrotter Chris McKivat (8)

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    David Millar
    Ian Stannard
    Bradley Wiggins
    Chris Froome
    Mark Cavendish

    Stannard the only slight surprise, but he was able to drive Cav through the Giro I believe.

    The rest currently racing in the tour. Hopefully Gerrans is able to get into a breakaway, or Goss can be lead out by O'Grady and take it out himself.
  3. GlobeTrotter Chris McKivat (8)

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    Route absolutely made for Cav to shine, but you're right about him looking far weaker without being on Renshaw's wheel.
  4. Jnor Peter Fenwicke (45)

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    Is this a post on G&GC?? It should be!
  5. The_Brown_Hornet Michael Lynagh (62)

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    Both those Aussie and British teams look very strong. Any word on who Spain and France have selected?
  6. tigerland12 John Thornett (49)

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    Both relatively strong teams there. But Gossy will have his work cut out to get over ahead of Cav
  7. light Peter Fenwicke (45)

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    This will be a good race to watch, riders will be attacking everywhere.
  8. Gibbo Ron Walden (29)

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    Jnor - They gave me the keys to the joint - I nearly broke it with my first post.
    Jnor likes this.
  9. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    That image is what the entire course and British mens Road Race team has been selected for. Basically Matt Goss, head down, sucking on the rubber from Mark Cavendish’s back tire. As described in my previous post the Australian team will be setup for a bunch finish on The Mall in London to be won by Matt Goss.
    The British team of ….
    Mark Cavendish (age: 27; born: Isle of Man – Team Sky)
    Chris Froome (age: 27; born: Nairobi, Kenya – team Sky)
    David Millar (age: 35; born: Mtarfa, Malta – Garmin-Sharp)
    Ian Stannard (age: 25; born: Chelmsford – Team Sky) – don’t bother clicking his link – doesn’t really post on twitter and won’t be allowed to in the Olympics anyway
    Bradley “F**in” Wiggins (age: 32; born: Ghent, Belgium – Team Sky)
    Will be VERY difficult to beat on their home turf in front of a massive crowd in the most patriotic of locations for the Brits. Think Brocky at Bathurst, Cathy at Olympic park. The British cycling team, both Road and track, along with their Sailing contingent will be the best chances of Gold at their home Games. Mark Cavendish is a red hot favourite for the bunch finish – so he should be.
    34 Grand Tour stage wins, 21 in the TDF alone. He is only 27. To put that into context, Australia’s Stuart O’grady is 38 won 3 stages. I’ve just checked the odds online and for a $20 bet – you’ll only get $50 back. It’s not quite Black Caviar – but there is also 100+ riders in the race and the chance of a fall will be huge. This could well be a race for the Classics riders – or the bunch sprint as Team GB have planned (look for Peter Sagan of Slovakia as a Smokey). From the Isle on Man I’m going to give him the beneift of the doubt and say that he classified as a Batch Dodger. as much can’t be said for most of the others.
    Chris Froome seems to have come leaps and bounds since joining Team Sky and has shown plenty of form through the Alps. If Phil Liggett mentions that Brad Wiggins didn’t ride for him in the Vuelta one more time we might just get the message that there is some tension between him and Wiggins. If there isn’t any tension already imagine what its like when they have bring your wife to work day. Their recent twitter WAG Fight from Wiggins and Froome’s wive would make a Metalica recording studio seem placid. Froome will play a leading role for setting the tempo. He will do what he’s been doing for Team Sky the same way Mick Rogers has been. Police any attacks and get Cavendish and Millar into the right place for a Bunch print. An African that is riding for England – I think we should nick name him KP after Kevin Peiterson
    [IMG]David Millar did very well to come back and win a Stage in this years TDF. As world Champ on 2004 he got busted for doping. he’s made a brilliant come back both of the road and on it. Campaigning against doping and obviously winning. he will probably take a bit of a back seat or go with the break away to defend against the likes of Sagan. Anyone who can cop a cut like this one and right on and take a stage a few days later must be tough mentally. An Englishman – fair play – But he was born in Malta, grew up in Scotland and lives in Hong Kong. He really should be Australian he is more multi-cultural than Lidcombe.
    Ian Stannard while not racing in any of the Grand tours as yet – at 25 earned his place on the Olympic team. he is the British Road Racing champion and a tough domestique. He was in the team that got Cavendish over the line. He was born in Chelmsford in England – he probably doesn’t have a personality.
    Bradley Wiggins, much will be written about this Time Trialist who can climb pretty well. Froome dropped him like a sack of potato’s and there is no love lost between then two. Wiggins showed he’s not afraid to get amongst it when Leading out for a bunch sprint. He will be the leader of the team that takes Cavendish to the line. His burst of speed as lead out for a Boassen-Hagan – Team Sky sprint finish on Saturday night was huge after the cross winds and Cat 3 climb that saw Evans attack come to nothing. I can see him providing a lead out similar for Cavendish. Just don’t cross him – he looks like he could knife some c***s.
    My Tip – Gold to Cavendish.

    The post Reviewing the Bath Dodgers’ form appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  10. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    As we bid farewell to Le Tour and point the peloton at London’s 9-Lap Box Hill circuit lets take a look back at the last set of 7.
    Tommy Voeckler did an amazing job of pissing off most of the cycling community by winning the Polker dott jersey as King of the Mountains.
    Here is a fun little gallery courtesy of a lazy Google Images search of the most under utilised Advertising space in Cycling – Little Tommy’s Tongue

    It seems that GAGCycling’s favourite has been at it again. It’s good that the boys from ORICA GreenEdge are on the lookout for this stuff. Last week Matt Goss noticed Peter Sagan ‘on the way to Paris’ so to speak. This week its Baden Cooke
    Driving to the race start and just saw a couple making love vigorously on the side of the road. #thebuseruptedwithlaughter
    — Baden Cooke (@badencooke) July 18, 2012
    I’m not sure how many of you are following the hash tag #thebuseruptedwithlaughter. If you aren’t its a doosey!!! keep an eye on it. #pointlesshashtagsarepointless

    Philippe Gilbert went over the handle bards after a Dog ran through the peloton he switched on the Freakin laser beams
    Vengeance is Gilbert’s!!! No that is not a Lazer helmet.
    Freakin’ Laser Beams
    — Panache (@Kiss_my_Panache) July 18, 2012
    According to the Cadel Evans’s Twitter account it was the size of a pony. I’m not sure what Pony’s Cadel is looking at but that Dog looks about the size of an Adult Dog.

    Brad Wiggins’ response to this from Lance Armstrong was Cryptic to say the least….
    Congrats to @bradwiggins on his historic Tour de France victory. Very impressive.
    — Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong)
    Just had a message from God!!! Literally!!
    — Bradley Wiggins (@bradwiggins) July 23, 2012
    Also to Cadel Evans for keeping that massive Bum-Chin up during some ‘Pressing issues’ for the last of the big Hill climbs
    Bad day for me; does not take much and you’re out of the running of this one. ‘Intestinal issues’ – at least it wasn’t during the race! #tdf
    — Cadel Evans (@CadelOfficial) July 18, 2012

    Thanks to many for the support on my sh!++y day….this is what makes it interesting right? I’ll be back…#afteratoiletbreak #tdf
    — Cadel Evans (@CadelOfficial) July 18, 2012

    He’s off to London and apparently fit – Go Well Cadel.
    The post GAGC – Social Pages – Bye bye Le Tour Allo Allo London appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  11. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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  12. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    “It’s here, the event everyone is waiting for, the course is designed perfectly, the riders are in their prime, the world will be watching Britain win the gold”. Quote everyone from Britain.
    According to the press following the Tour de France, the only reason to watch this race is to see who fights it out to be Great Britain’s bridesmaids on the podium. Whilst the Brits have been dominant in recent months and do deserve to be outright favourites, many are forgetting the unpredictability of a sprint styled finish and the quality of the riders who aren’t British (try telling them that).
    So who else do we look for? As ‘Gibbo’ has already posted a great article comparing the Australians and British, I’ll keep this bit short.
    We all know the Brits main weapon is the human missile Mark Cavendish. Given his significant favouritism, most of the non-cycling public will suspect all he has to do is turn up and win. Yet due to the chaotic nature of a bunch sprint (particularly when many lesser known’s will launch attacks), Cav will have to rely significantly on his workmen. Throughout the stage Chris Froome will be his go to man, who, along with David Millar, will chase down and contain any threatening attacks. Once they have done this job, it will down to current Tour de France champion Bradley “Shave off those stupid sideburns” Wiggins to aim the missile at the finishing line.
    The Australians are deemed as the Brits main contenders, and looking at the side they have put out, it seems a viable prediction. Expect Cadel Evans to ride as a workman alongside Stuart O’Grady and Michael Rogers. Not a bad trio of pace setters when you look at the bigger picture. You have a former Tour de France champion, a 16year veteran and the man who carried Brad Wiggins up countless mountains in recent weeks. From there it will be down to little Simon Gerrans to put his average effort in France behind him and lead out Australia’s own weapon in Matty Goss. Goss has proven he is one of the fastest men in the world, and given a good lead out, he can really challenge Cavendish.
    During the race there will be one young man riding with a countries hopes on his shoulders, all alone amongst 143 other riders. But this man is Slovakian Peter Sagan, who, if you were to want one man in this position, Sagan would be close to your first pick. Heavily built, this young rider has the raw power and aggression to outsprint most riders, but it will be his ability to ride well throughout that will give him a significant advantage over the other sprinters. As shown in le Tour, young Sagan can be very strong in the more strenuous parts of the race, so having no team mates working for him should not hinder his performance greatly. This man is my tip for a podium finish, and to be honest, would love nothing more. (I may have a man-crush on this Slovak weapon).
    Next is ZE GERMANS! Another sprinter with a good chance is Andre Griepel, who is carrying some great form into this race. If he is amongst it in the bunch finish he will use Tony Martin to try and get in a good position. This man is a dark horse and has been somewhat overlooked as a main contender.
    These men are the only real sprinters who I believe have a chance of winning in a bunch finish, which is a highly likely result, but due to the non-use of race radio’s a breakaway with a group of strong riders could prove fatal to Britain’s Gold hopes.
    These breakaway challengers will come from nations without a strong sprinter and I suspect will be either above average time trialists or strong flat stage riders. Vicenzo Nibali (Italy) and Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) are amongst the names who could be successful in a breakaway, but it is the Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen who has caught my eye. This man was brilliant for Team Sky, especially in being Mark Cavendish’s main lead out man, showing the pace that he has when he explodes. If he can make it in the breakaway, he has the speed to outgun the likes of Nibali, Cancellara and possibly young Teejay van Garderen (USA). Other potential breakaway riders are Canadian Ryder Hesjedal and Kazak mountain maniac Vinokourov.
    But the main breakaway chance comes from Espanola. Luis-Leon Sanchez is a strong all round rider who is in great form. He was brilliant in numerous attacks in the Tour de France and his speed through flatter time-trials has improved drastically. It is unfourtunate that my personal favourite Samuel Sanchez is out injured, because a two-pronged attack from those two riders would of been destructive to the rest of the race. But with Valverde and Rojas in support, Luis-Leon has a great chance to make it two Olympic gold’s in a row for the Spanish.
    So how do I see this panning out? No bloody idea, but I can assure it will go one of two ways. 1) a strong breakaway is formed by the aforementioned riders who sustain a lead impossible to chase down. This may be the way to go for many nations as not many teams will want to help Britain and Australia chase down these breaks. The second option is that 2) the ambitious attacks are contained by the stronger riding teams, resulting in a bunch sprint.
    My predictions
    Bunch Sprint Finish
    1- Mark Cavendish (GBR)
    2- Peter Sagan (SLV)
    3- Mathew Goss (AUS)
    1- Luis-Leon Sanchez (ESP)
    2- Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR)
    3- Vicenzo Nibali (ITA)
    So there you go my predictions for what is expected to be an exciting race to watch. Coverage of the race starts at 6:50pm EST, which is great for those who are used to staying up late to watch international cycling
    The post London Road Race: It’s not just about the Brits appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  13. Cat_A Arch Winning (36)

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    Who the hell thought light yellow/gold bike pants were a good idea? Heaven forbid we win gold - I'm pretty sure you aren't allowed to show the evidence of male "excitement" at certain hours of the day/night without a warning?

    In the above photo, it looks like Stuey O'Grady has a nasty case of testicle separation, while Mick Rogers is very happy to be in the uniform!
  14. The_Brown_Hornet Michael Lynagh (62)

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    A bit of a blokes camel toe perhaps?
  15. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    With Foxtel providing live coverage of the men’s Olympic road race starting at 6:50pm on channel 185, I thought that I’d give you 5 riders to watch out for that haven’t been mentioned (much), to date. The first four are arguably the top classics riders turning a pedal today, and the last one is a very quick sprinter who hasn’t warranted any mention, but can challenge the likes of Cav, Greipel and Goss on his day.
    One important thing to be wary of is that each team is limited to 5 riders, making the race harder to control and potentially favouring the strong and aggressive classic-type riders who can make the race too hard for the pure sprinters (even accounting for the comparatively – and disappointingly – easy course).
    Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
    Arguably the greatest time trialist ever, 4 time world time trial champion fabulous Fabian is also one of the great classics riders of this generation. If Fabian can get a gap on the peloton, he’s proven that he can time trial his way to victory from 40km out, as shown in his emphatic victory in the 2010 Paris-Roubaix. This victory was the following week after he blew away the great Tom Boonen on the cobbles in the 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders).
    Although not being in the best of form in 2012 due to an injury that ruined his 2012 Spring Classics campaign, the peloton will be wary of Cancellara getting any sort of a gap and never being seen again.
    Cancellara can also put in a mean sprint, including blowing the peloton away in the last 2km. The below clip from the 2007 Tour de France shows Cancellara’s raw power, as he rides off the front of the flying peloton in the last 2km to overtake the break away and take the stage win against the top riders in the world.
    Just don’t steal his blanket, that makes Fabian…angry. And the peloton won’t like an angry Fabian.
    Cancellara left the Tour de France early to be with his wife for the birth of his child. This will have no doubt impacted on his potential form, but don’t expect Cancellara to sit back and wait for a bunch sprint. It was Cancellara that heroically rode down the lead group last year (including towing Matt Rogers), to steal a bronze medal in the road race from Andy Schleck.
    Tom Boonen (Belgium)
    Tom “Tommeke” Boonen is the other great cobbles classic rider of this generation, along with Cancellara. Tornado Tom showed he can out-Cancellara Cancellara in his victory in this year’s Paris-Roubaix, riding around 50km solo to record an emphatic win to add to his already unbelievable palmares.
    Boonen can also sprint, and was considered one of the top sprinters a few years back. Boonen showed his sprinting pedigree by winning the Green jersey in the 2007 TdF. From a small bunch sprint, Boonen is still deadly, and is one of the real danger riders in the race. To top is off, Boonen also has a super strong Belgian team to back him up, with all being tough classics type riders.
    Despite having shown a predilection for partying (too) hard and class A drugs in the past, Boonen is now apparently reformed, and is a very dangerous rider. Although, he has not shown any form since Paris-Roubaix, expect Boonen to be very motivated.
    Phil Gilbert (Belgium)
    Gilbert won most of the classics he entered in last year, in one of the most dominating displays ever seen on his way to winning the 2012 Velo d’Or as the year’s best rider. Gilbert is most at home in the hills, and has a devastating acceleration that few can follow. Although normally attacking in the hills, last year’s San Sebastian saw Gilbert attacking on the flat in the last 20km to secure his victory.
    Gilbert isn’t the best rider once he gets a gap and the group behind puts in a committed chase, but if he gets away in the last 15km or so then it is unlikely he will be seen again. Gilbert also has a handy sprint, and can win from small groups.
    Gilbert hasn’t been in great form in 2012, failing to win a single race in stark contrast to 2011, where he won nearly every race he targeted. However, the Olympics and Worlds are the big targets for Gilbert this year, so to underestimate him would be silly.
    Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
    A hilly classics rider, stage racer and GT contender, Valverde is returning from a 2 year suspension for doping this year, a carry over from Operation Puerto. After showing great form early in the season, Valverde has tapered off recently, but seemed to be riding into form in the Tour de France, including getting a stage win from a long breakaway in a mountain stage.
    Valverde has a very quick sprint, and has won Vuelta stages from mass sprints. Look for Valverde to aim at a sprint from a small group, where all the pure sprinters are way back.
    Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus)
    Unlike the previous 4 riders, Hutarovich is a pure sprinter, and is seemingly allergic to any road that goes slightly upwards. However, he is also extremely quick, and has shown potential in the past which he hasn’t quite lived up to. After a disappointing Tour de France which was disrupted by illness, the Olympics road race could be his chance to live up to his potential.
    Hutarovich will be hoping for a large bunch sprint, which would require riders like the above 4 being well controlled by the peloton.
    The post Olympic Road Race: 5 riders to look out for appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  16. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    Isnt the best news that (a) the poms didn't win and (b) they blame us?
    BPC, Ash, bryce and 2 others like this.
  17. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    In overall shape, both the men’s and women’s races were remarkably similar – the pelotons filled with names and favourites let breakaways go late on the climbing stage and were unable peg them back on the fast ride home.
    The real drama however, was in the Men’s race, where the near anointed champion GB team failed to trouble the podium, leaving the fastest sprinter in the world fuming.
    An early breakaway led and marshalled by Aussie Stuey “freckle” O’Grady put early pressure on the the GB team, opened up a 6 minute break and forced the home riders to work. Knowing that a sprint on the Mall was as good as a Cavendish gold, the rest of the pack left the poms to it, hoping that the onus of keeping in touch of a bunched sprint over 250km might prove to much.
    And for most of the race it looked like a Sky team performance in GB colours as the likes of Froome, Wiggins and Millar determined the pace of the peloton and cosseted their star man, in this case the Manx Missile. Aussie Mick Rogers gave it a shot on an early attack in the climbing section, but left alone he was unable to make it across the gap and was eventually hunted down.
    But on the last lap of the Box Hill circuit the chasers of Belgian lone breakaway Gilbert decided to keep going and before you knew it the pack was split, with the Brits unable to pick up the pace. Suddenly the small pack out front that O’Grady had lead for 230km was bigger, fresher and stretching their lead from 20 to 50 seconds.
    And that was the way it stayed until the downslope of Putney bridge when two riders - reformed doper Vinokourov and Colombian Rigoberto Uran - independently went off the front of the leading group and opened up a gap that would never be closed. The Kazahk silver medalist from Beijing showed his class in the final sprint and the gold was his. Norwegian Alexander Kristoff claimed bronze.
    The poms were both gutted and furious. Cavendish lashed out saying:
    “The guys all sat there in the tent absolutely spent. We did everything we could. The crowd was tremendous the whole way around, but the Aussies just raced negatively.”
    In the women’s race a smaller breakaway of three riders - led off by Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia - also went off the final climb. The weather had been filthy throughout the race – more than 10 tyres went before the first lap of Box Hill – and followed them all the way into Buckingham Palace.
    But when it came to the final sprint, Dutch woman Marianna Vos saw off Lizzie Armitstead in a close sprint for the one-two.
    Here are a few photos of both races – taken by me! (hence the mix of quality…)

    The post Olympic Roadrace Roundup appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  18. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    Finishing Predictions:
    1. Wiggins
    2. Froome
    3. Phinney
    4. Rogers
    5. Umm…Bueller….Bueller….Fry ….Fry….. This might be a pretty short Blog post. (Maybe Mr Nibbles or Luis Leon Sanchez)
    Seriously if the Bath Dodgers don’t go 1-2 in this there should be an inquiry (or they can buy the Aussie Men’s 4×100 swimming team a warm pint). Froome may have clagged a little earlier than people expected during the Road race in the Team Gb chase, but his TT form was only second to Wiggins in the TDF. Wiggins’ role of Domestique in the Road Race would have saved his legs his time has come for the Time Trial. The TDF/TT double is a big ask but do-able for him. Froome and Wiggins are the form riders in the TT and should battle for the Gold and Silver. I expect it to go Wiggins’ way but would not be surprised to see Froome pull one out and really challenge here. This may be a statement for his medium term future as a Pro-Team leader.
    3 of the big challengers are out. Spartacus, Mr Cuddles and Ze German (Cancellara, Evans and Martin) through injuries and fatigue. So Phinney and Mick Rogers odds have shortened. Those two should be challenging for the Bronze. If Cancellara and Martin were in it I’d put them ahead of Evans, Phinney and Rogers. As the lone Aussie Rogers is in career best form and had some good ‘lone’ time during the road race as one of the only people to try and bridge the gap.
    Oh Australian cycling what would you pay to have picked Porte now over Evans. A quality Time Trialist who could have done work with Rogers and Team GB to force the sprint in the Road Race. Harry Hindsight has 20/20 vision.
    Go Mick Rogers!!!!

    The post The Time Trial 5 to watch (well maybe 4) appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  19. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    Apparently all the Team GB dream team had to do was turn up, deliver the Manx Missile (AKA Mark Cavendish) to the line, and she’ll be peaches, guv’nor.
    Except, it didn’t happen like that. Not at all. Instead, we were treated to a break that stayed away all day, and that swelled in size as multiple groups bridged. A late attack in the last 2km saw Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) (an infamous name, known as much for his attacking style and numerous wins as his expulsion from the 2007 TdF for a blood transfusion gone wrong) go clear with Rigoberto Uran (Col). In a two up sprint you’d put money on Uran 99 times out of 100, but Uran was caught napping, or more precisely taking a long peek back at the chasing group, and Vino jumped clear to sprint for the gold medal.
    For Vino, it is a bit of justice after Sydney 2000, where the race was dominated by Team Telekom riders (a German trade team), who instructed them to let the German rider Jan Ulrich win. The 39 year-old
    Kazakhstani rider will be retiring this year, and with a last gasp golden present to leave on the mantle peice to boot.
    The Tactics
    Really, from the get go only three teams showed they were keen for a mass bunch sprint: GB (for Cav), Germany (for Greipel) and Belarus (for Hutarovich), with GB being left to do most of the work. No worries, you thought. GB had been talking it up how they were the “Dream Team”, and this would be a walk in the park.
    For Australia, it became apparent the Goss was plan B, and plan A was Stuey, Cadel, Rogers and Gerrans getting away, in a similar style to the powerful teams from Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium. The basic plan was to make it too hard for a bunch sprint by attacking constantly, and if it comes to a sprint, leave one a sprinter there just in case Cav fails.
    For GB, Cav was plan A, plan B, plan C, all the way to plan Z. You knew on what side they had buttered their bread, as if you didn’t need the constant pre-race crowing about how this was team GB’s race to know it. The rest of the world, outside of GB, were hoping for Team GB and their director Dave Brailsford to suffer some hubris. And it goes to show, dreams do come true.
    The Early Break
    An early break of 12 got away, started by Stuey O’Grady. These weren’t some weekend hackers though, or some second tier pros trying to get their team some television time. The early break had some top riders who’d won Monuments and GTs, and others who were perennial contenders. Some big names included the evergreen O’Grady (Aus), Menchov (Rus), Pinotti (Ita), Brajkovic (Slo) and Roelandts (Bel). GB seemed unperturbed, though, and the lead grew to comfortably over 5 minutes.
    Michael Rogers seemed to realise the threat posted by the breakaway and indicated Australia’s lack of desire to help GB (and, occasionally, Germany and Belarus) with the chase by posting a lone, and ultimately, fruitless chase attempt to the breakaway.
    As the laps went on, GB worked on the front as in a mass TTT, and the gap came down. Then the attacks started, thanks to Nibali and Gilbert. After a first failure to get away on Box Hill, they tried again on the subsequent lap, and all of a sudden a chase group of 11 riders was joining the breakaway, led by Gilbery and Nibali. Unfortunately, the Aussies missed the boat as they sat too far back. Gilbert even tried an audacious 60km or so solo ride in, but was soon caught.
    GB tries…and fails
    It seemed, though, that GB, with some help from Germany, had the now 22 man break well in control as the gap came down to around 50 seconds. Then came the last ascent of Box Hill, and a final group bridged across, including pre-race favourite Cancellara (Swi). With both Spain and Switzerand now having 3 men, including team leaders in Valverde (Spa) and Cancellara, plus the USA having a strong TJVG riding for Phinney, the remaining domestiques rode hard on the front of the break, while one by one the GB domestiques fell away, and the gap started to grow again on the flat 50km run in to the finish line. As the gap reached 1 min 22 seconds with 20km, it was clear that the peloton was never going to catch the breakaway, and team GB might as well give up.
    In the front group, Kristoff (Rus) was the only recognised sprinter and now favourite, but Cancellara, Stuey, Phinney and Valverde all were recognised as fast finishers in their own right. Coming into the last few kilometres, Cancellara, one of the best bike handlers in the peloton, misjudged a corner and crashed, ultimately leaving us with the sad sight of the man in tears as his Olympic dream was cruelly dashed.
    Surely anyone but Vino?
    Vino and Uran then sprung their final attack, and the disorganised breakaway no longer had any domestiques or riders willing to bury themselves in the chase. Kristoff sprinted for third, narrowly beating a clearly disappointed Phinney into fourth. Stuey managed a very credible 6th, considering he spent the whole day out in the breakaway.
    No doubt that it will be asked if the unrepentent doper Vino winning is good for the sport, but for me, anyone but the “cycling gods” of team GB was a good result.
    Go Cav!
    Then came the moment all of GB was waiting for, as Cav “bravely” sprinted for 27th place, only to be beaten out by both Greipel (Ger) and Boonen (Bel), taking home a proud 29th place for the Dream Team. Goss didn’t even both to sprint, finishing well back in the peloton with the remainder of the Australian team.
    So what of my pre-race suggestions? Hutarovich finished comfortably in the peloton, not bothering to sprint. Boonen chose to sit on and sprint, and out sprinted Cav to boot, although he got beaten by Greipel into the prestigous 27th place. Gilbert attacked multiple times, including an insane long shot a long way from home, and finished comfortably back in the breakaway at 19th, one spot behind Valverde, who was 18th. Cancellara I maintain was a real shot at winning until he tragically crashed out so close to home. Not great, but if anyone told me what the top 5 would be the morning of the race, I would have politely told them (with some French) how crazy they are.
    The post Vino shows a rare vintage appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  20. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    I’ve hardly heard anything from Alexandre Vinokourov, Rigoberto Uran, Third Placed guy, Stuey O’Grady any Spanish or German riders since the men’s Olympic Road Race finished. I’ve heard a lot from the Brits though. They seem to think their failure is someone else’s fault.
    A couple of factors that contributed to their failure – some of them were uncontrollable, some of them were stupid.
    First and most obvious is the lack of race radio. The ubiquitous piece of technology is also one of the most controversial in professional cycling. Some say it ruins the spectacle of the race. Others say it is necessary for safety reasons.
    Without radios, the riders didn’t have an accurate gauge of the size of the break. Nor could they co-ordinate their chase.
    The second reason is the length of the race and the size of the teams. It’s a big ask to control a 250 km race with just five riders – radios or no radios. By contrast, the average length of a road stage in this year’s Tour de France was 188.5 km – the longest stage being 226 km – and a team had nine riders.
    You can expect the team of the TDF leader to spend a fair chunk of time on the front of the peloton. So, if (a big if, but go with it) each rider on the leaders’ team – the leader excluded – did an equal amount of work on a TDF stage, a simple mathematical equation (188.5 km ÷ 8 riders) tells us that they would spend 23.5 km on the front of the peloton. If the same thing applied to the Olympic Road Race – which it certainly seemed to – you get the four riders on Cavs team each riding 62.5 km on the front.
    Of course the reality is far from this simplified equation, but it does give some perspective.
    The third reason is that they put all their eggs in one basket. Or more precisely, they put their one egg – Cav – in one basket. Turns out that basket was tattered, tired and worn-out after riding around France in one of the most boring Tour wins in living memory. Bad tactics.
    But the fourth reason is the big one. Team GB rode as if it were another stage in the Tour, which generally follow a fairly simple formula: Start. Breakaway. The boring middle bit where Phil and Paul tell everyone about castles. Concerted chase. Sprint invariably won by Cav.
    But the Olympics is a one day race, like the spring classics. These usually go along a fairly simple formula too: Start. All hell breaks loose. Manic couple of hours in which a legend or fiend like Vino, Cancellara, Boonen or Stuey pulls some outlandish move to claim a heroic victory.
    There’s almost always chaos in a one day race and even a nine man team struggles to control them. Most teams have a designated leader, but they’ll also have a plan B and C to cover any eventuality.
    Team GB had no plan B. Plan A wasn’t very good in the first place. They lost. They whined about it.
    Cavendish will be 31 at the next Olympics. He will probably have broken the record for most Tour stages and maybe even won another World Championship or two by then. But there’s no doubt he’ll still be moaning whenever he doesn’t win.
    Mark Cavendish, great champion. Terrible loser.
    The post Those Bloody Whingeing Poms appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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