Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France at the weekend, and his team-mates will be aiming to follow up Team Sky’s success at the Olympics. Wiggins will be taking part in Team GB’s two road racing events: the Road Race and the Time Trial. The men’s Road Race consists of a 250km ride through six London boroughs, on to Surrey before finishing back at The Mall. The Tour de France champion will be competing beside fellow Team Sky teammates Mark Cavendish, Ian Stannard and Chris Froome. David Millar of the Garmin-Sharp team makes up the squad of five. Like the Tour, the road race is a team event which will see Great Britain riders working together to push their fastest racer into the gold medal position. Cavendish is likely to be the man that crosses the line first for a Team GB squad which has realistic medal expectations on the second day of the Games – July 28th. The “Manx Missile” secured the Green Jersey [the Tour de France’s leading points scorer] in 2011 and regularly reaches speeds of 40km an hour.
Four days later, it is the men’s Time Trial event. The 44km race starts and finishes in Hampton Court Palace in south-west London and takes in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames and parts of Surrey. Teams start at 90 second intervals and look to overtake each other. Team GB’s representatives will see Wiggins compete against Team Sky racer Chris Froome – who can seek revenge on the Tour winner. It will be interesting to see who is the quicker of the two in GB colours. Wiggins pipped Froome to the gold medal in the 2010 British National Time Trial Championship and will be looking to secure the gold medal in the shorter of their two events at the Games.
Britain’s other main medal hopes in cycling come in the Velodrome from the woman’s team pursuit, and of course, Chris Hoy. The woman’s pursuit team of Dani King, Laura Trott, Jo Rowsell (with Wendy Houvenaghel in reserve) are British cycling’s best chance at these Games. The team have been world champions for the last two years and are world-record holders. Hoy, who won three golds in 2008, will compete in the team sprint and keirin. The team event medal hinges upon the form of rookie of Philip Hindes. If he can hold his nerve, seasoned veterans and teammates Hoy and Jason Kenny should secure a strong finish. The keirin is typically a lottery of an event but on his day, Hoy is still untouchable and will looking for gold as he bows out of the sport after the Olympics. Fellow Bejing gold medalist Victoria Pendleton will be competing in the match and team sprint events as well as the keirin. The individual sprint is where Pendleton will have her best chance of victory having won the World Championship in April. However, the Brit will have to be at her best in order to see off her great rival Anna Meares of Australia as she also looks to finish her career with Olympic gold.
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BIOGRAPHY: Lucas Torreira