Cycling will be one of the first sports to give out a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio next month, with the men’s road race taking place on the first official day of competition on August 6.

Chris Froome heads the British charge on the course that includes a considerable amount of climbing, but the distance between the top of the final climb and the finish line could play into the hands of his rivals.

The likes of Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali, Dan Martin and Rui Costa will all be challenging for gold, but as Alexander Vinokourov’s win four years ago shows, anything can happen in the road race.

Lizzie Armitstead goes into the women’s race on August 7 as one of the hot favourites, alongside the likes of Dutch duo Anna Van der Breggen and Marianne Vos.

Armitstead won silver in London in 2012 behind Vos and has altered her regular training this year to cope with the mountainous nature of the course.

The time trials follow on August 10, with the men completing close to 60km and the women just shy of 30km.

Froome represents a legitimate chance of gold for Team GB, having come first and second in the two time trials at the Tour de France. His main rival heading into the event, Tom Dumoulin, dominated the rolling time trial on stage 13, but broke his arm on stage 19 and faces a race to be fit to challenge for the medals.

In the women’s event, Van der Breggen is again among the favourites, with world champion Linda Villumsen looking good for a medal for New Zealand. Controversial American selection Kristen Armstrong will look to win her third consecutive Olympic time trial gold.