Preview: Olympic Time Trials

Women’s Olympic Time Trial (12.30 pm)

The women’s field is full of ex-world champions and will be a closely fought contest. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) dominated the recent Giro d’Italia Femminile, the most prestigious stage race on the women’s road cycling calendar – taking 5 of the 9 stages and also the Gold medallist in the Road Race on Sunday.

Second at the Giro and on the start list is 2010 World Time Trial Champion Emma Pooley (Great Britain), though the course is unlikely to suit her climbing talents. The American’s Amber Neben (2008) and Kristin Armstrong (2006 & 2009) have 3 world titles between them, though Armstrong looked to be struggling during the road race. Judith Arndt (Germany) is the 2011 World Time Trial Champion and can a real threat for gold.

Our bet for this race however is Linda Melanie Villumsen (New Zealand), on the up after her performances in the last two World TT events (3rd in 2010 and 2nd in 2011) – Gold is the next step up for her. Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) is our dark horse for the race and with Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain) on a high from the road race she may well “rain on a few parades” too.

Our Top 5
1 Linda Melanie Villumsen (New Zealand)
2 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
3 Judith Arndt (Germany)
4 Emma Pooley (Great Britain)
5 Amber Neben (United States)

Men’s Olympic Time Trial (2.15 pm)

Overwhelming favourite after his tour win is British rider Bradley Wiggins, though Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) could be a serious threat (he has 4 World TT titles to his name and is the defending Olympic TT champion from 2008 after all), his crash in the road race may affect his chances though.

If Wiggins has recovered from the road race he could even win by 60 seconds or more. Chris Froome showed he was the best of the rest at this year’s tour, but was looking tired and dropped from the main group on the final run during Saturday’s road race – fatigue or common sense (saving himself for the time trail)?

Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain) will be hoping for a high finish to make amends for Spain shocking road race – with 3 riders in the front group of 30, including 2 of their best medal hopes they were the favourites going into the closing stages, and when Cancellara crash out they were in a perfect position. To come away without anyone in the top 10 was a disaster.

Tony Martin (Germany) may be contender too if he has fully recovered from a fractured scaphoid he sustained in the early stages of the Tour of France – he could be seen helping the British chase during the early stages of the road race, so clearly has some form. Gustav Erik Larsson (Sweden) is an outside bet.

Road race gold medal winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazahkstan) will start but it will be more of a farewell as he heads into retirement. Cadel Evans (Australia) is the major name missing from the start – fatigue after the Tour has seen him withdraw.

Our Top 5
1 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)
2 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
3 Christopher Froome (Great Britain)
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain)
5 Taylor Phinney (United States)