Colombia isn’t short of a talented cyclist or two at the moment, which must have made selection for the five-man Olympic squad really easy, or incredibly difficult.
Still, you’d probably have a good starting point with Nairo Quintana. It’d be hard to leave out the two-time Tour de France runner-up and Giro d’Italia winner, particularly on a course that includes 11 climbs in total.
The 26-year-old, like many other climbers, will be juggling his Tour efforts with the Olympic road race, and is likely to have a pop at the Vuelta a España at the end of August too.
Like Quintana, it’s hard to look past Rigoberto Uran when searching through names, with the Cannondale man most likely picked on his 2012 performance rather than any form he’s shown in recent months.
Uran picked up a silver behind Alexander Vinokourov four years ago in London, and will be best placed to fill Colombia’s Olympic time trial slot as well, despite a poor showing in the TTs at the Giro d’Italia in May.
Watch: Esteban Chaves’s 2016 Scott Addict
Speaking of the Giro, the Colombians are handing Esteban Chaves an Olympic debut after his runner-up spot in the year’s first Grand Tour. The 26-year-old hasn’t shown too much promise in one-day racing, and will surely be in place to play more a support role on the 256.4km course in Rio.
Likewise for Sergio Henao and Miguel Angel Lopez who complete the super-squad. While both have secured top results – Henao in the Ardennes Classics and Lopez more recently in winning the Tour de Suisse overall – and could in effect lead the team, they both look likely to fit into a support role.
Henao has shown his qualities as a domestique at Team Sky this year with Geraint Thomas at Paris-Nice and Chris Froome at the Critérium du Dauphiné, despite a debacle which saw him miss the Ardennes as the UCI investigated his biological passport values.
“It’s a really tough course, made for climbers,” national coach Carlos Jaramillo said on the Rio road race. “It’s one of the most difficult circuits I’ve seen and whoever wins will be a true Olympic king.”
“We chose these riders based on their careers, form, and experience – in the case of Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao – at past Olympics,” he added.
“Miguel Lopez is in there because he’s a rider with a great future who has proven himself in big races. Also, it’s a course for climbers and he could lend us a very good hand in that respect.”