Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, David Millar, Ian Stannard and Bradley Wiggins will make up Great Britain’s five-man team in the cycling road race at the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 28.
Cavendish goes into the road race as one of the hot favourites to take the win, and will be supported in the race by his four team-mates. Froome and newly-crowned British road race champion Stannard will make their Olympic Games debut this year.
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“The final selection for the men’s road race was a tough choice as we had a really strong squad of riders to pick from,” said British Cycling performance director David Brailsford.
“We have selected the five riders who we believe are on the best form and will give us the fastest team for the race. All the riders selected have a gruelling few weeks coming up, with Ian [Stannard] due to ride in the Tour of Poland and the rest of the lads riding in the Tour de France, so we’ll be keeping an eye on injury and form but for now, I am confident that we have picked the best team for the race.”
After starting on the Mall in London, the 250-kilometre road race route heads south to take in nine laps of a circuit including the Surrey climb of Box Hill before returning to London for the finish. Cavendish won the official test event in August based on the same course but over a shorter distance. The Manxman won a stage of the Tour de France on Monday, his 21st Tour stage win.
Froome and Wiggins will also ride in the men’s time trial on August 1 based at Hampton Court Palace. Both riders are currently in the Tour de France, with Wiggins aiming for the overall win. Wiggins has a solid chance of winning a medal in the Olympic time trial to add to his six track medals. He is Britain’s most decorated Olympic cyclist in history.
Millar’s selection has proved a controversial one after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the British Olympic Association’s lifetime ban for athletes that have served a suspension for doping. Millar was suspended from racing for two years after confessing to the use of banned blood booster EPO. He returned to competition in 2006. Millar will only ride the road race as ‘road captain’ for Cavendish and not contest the time trial, despite the latter being his strong discipline.
The final selection holds some disappointment for Steve Cummings, Jeremy Hunt and Ben Swift. Swift had been part of the British track squad but elected to concentrate on selection for the road race after missing the cut for the team pursuit. Now he will have to miss the Games entirely.
The British women’s road race team was announced in June and consists of defending champion Nicole Cooke, Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley and Lucy Martin.