‘It could be one of the toughest races of our careers’: Tao Geoghegan Hart and Simon Yates share thoughts on Olympic road race

This year’s race will take place in brutal heat and humidity in Japan

Tao Geoghegan Hart at the Tour de France 2021
(Image credit: Getty )

The Olympic road race is one of the toughest and most unpredictable races on the cycling calendar, but how do the men’s squad see this year’s event playing out?

Team GB have four riders competing in the 230km men’s course around Mount Fuji on Saturday (July 24), who all have a chance at competing for the win. 

The four British male riders are Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Simon and Adam Yates, but it’s not yet clear who will be the chosen leader. 

Speaking from a video press conference ahead of the event Geoghegan Hart, winner of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, said: “I think it's going to be probably one of the most physically demanding races that we'll do this year, if not in our careers potentially if the temperature and humidity and everything line up.” 

Temperatures in Tokyo leading up to the road race have hit mid-30s with humidity up at 80 per cent, with the forecast for Saturday putting the temperature at 32 degrees. 

The course itself is also brutal, with five categorised climbs spread over 234km.

Geoghegan Hart, who has just come out of the Tour de France a week before the race, said: ‘’I wouldn’t be here [if I didn’t think I was capable of winning]. I think that’s the big strength of this team, we’ve got options to play. 

“It’s a really small team, so it’s important to have cards to play. 

“With the long climb up to Fuji I think you’ve probably got three hours of racing left to go, but I think the race will be on from there.

“It’ll definitely be very unpredictable and hopefully quite an open race. That’s what we’ve seen historically in the games.” 

Simon Yates will also be racing in Tokyo alongside his twin brother Adam, after Simon abandoned the Tour de France on stage 13 following a crash.  

>>> Five things to look out for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's road race

He said: “It’s always going to be difficult to win and I think as a team we will try and do the best we can.

“The course is hard. I think it’s going to be a very selective course, not just the parcours but the conditions as well. 

“We only have a four-man squad. We don’t even have a full team.

“It really changes the dynamic to what we’re used to on the WorldTour. 

“As a team we’ve got a really good chance. It’s just about putting those pieces together.” 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.