After the disappointment of defeat in Sunday’s road race, the Team GB cyclists must now concentrate on Wednesday’s Olympic time-trial at Hampton Court. Mark Cavendish was the man entrusted with the main role of going for gold, with support from Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins, and the latter must now ensure that he has fully recovered from the weekend’s exertions after deciding to ride hard for the final stage in a bid to make up lost time. The incentive for Wiggins, as if he needed any, is the prospect of a seventh Olympic medal that would take him ahead of the total that he shares at present with fellow Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave.
With three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the cabinet, Wiggins has the experience to make it count on Wednesday as he attempts to see off the challenge of the likes of German Tony Martin who decided to keep himself fresh by pulling out of the finish of the road race with 75kms to go. Chris Froome gave his all in the road race as well, and will fancy his chances of a podium finish, but his task will be made easier if Swiss star Fabian Cancellara fails to turn up. The four-time world champion, who broke his collarbone in the Tour of Flanders earlier this year, was in the wars again on Sunday, crashing into a barrier after misjudging a turn, resulting in him having an x-ray on his right arm. Whatever the outcome, that is not the ideal preparation. Likewise, 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has not been in perfect health, although he did race on Sunday, finishing in 79th position. He too will need to improve dramatically to stop Bradley Wiggins from making history. Bookmakers such as Paddy Power are placing Wiggins as favourite at 8/15 with German rival Tony Martin at 7/2 and the Swiss Cancellara at 9/2 to take Gold.
As for the women, well Great Britain’s Emma Pooley lost her World Road Cycling time trial title to Germany’s Judith Arndt in Denmark last year and the pair will be expected to dominate on Wednesday. Arndt collected silver in the road race at Athens 2004, but Pooley will be determined to go one better after her time-trial silver medal behind American Kristin Armstrong in Beijing. Also well worth a mention is Linda Villumsen who is no stranger to podium finishes herself, having got that far in each of the last three world championships. Villumsen finished 5th in the road race in Beijing while riding for Denmark, but she has ridden for New Zealand since becoming a citizen in 2009. Considering the way the women’s race unfolded at the weekend round Box Hill, she did very well to secure 18th place behind Marianne Voss, and will be hoping for kinder weather conditions to help her cause. Basically, the top four or five are all very accomplished, experienced riders, so tactics on the day will dictate who gets the gold. On recent evidence there is no reason why Emma Pooley should not go close to giving Great Britain yet another cycling gold medal.