Bradley Wiggins is the overwhelming favorite for the gold, but who will threaten?
The Brit has had a July to remember, and winning Great Britain’s first Tour de France was just step one. He went on to ring in the Opening Ceremony and featured in the road race to kick off the cycling events. While Team GB came up short, the disappointment on results might easier to swallow for Wiggo, whose efforts on the front drove the peloton for huge chunks of the race.
It’ll be his teammate and ally for Sky and in the Olympics, Chris Froome, who may enter the time trial as a sort of a dark horse behind a long list of challengers. Fabian Cancellara will ride in spite of serious bruising after a crash in the road race. He’s fresh otherwise, skipping the last two weeks of the Tour to be present at the birth of his second child. He’s won gold before and has won multiple world championships in the discipline.
The rider who has hinted at a changing of the guard, Tony Martin, will serve as the first rival to Wiggins. Martin’s bad luck and injuries hurt him at the Tour, where a blown tire in both the Prologue and first individual time trial combined with an injured wrist kept him out of the victory hunt. Martin left the Tour early to heal and fine tune his preparations for the 44km route.
Aside from some rolling hills in the opening miles, the route in London is largely perfect for the specialists. Riders have made some comments about the course’s rough surface, but that should not play a large role in the race. The wind, too, should be influential and early starters may have a slight advantage as it picks up throughout the day. The event starts much later in the afternoon than the road race, but the perfect temperatures should be steady. Only the monsoon rains could derail and victory plans, as the conditions in the Women’s road race surely proved.
Wiggins will win if he still has the legs and form from the past month. But when he takes the start, his magically July will be over. The time trial is August 1.