Following the men’s road race yesterday, the women now take on the same gruelling course today. They are racing the same course as the men, with the same obstacles to face and therefore they can get a bit of an idea as to how their bikes will handle. With the world’s best women going for gold here, look for Megan Guarnier of the USA to attempt to hold off the Dutch pair of Anna Van Der Breggen and Marianne Vos and a fast improving Lizzie Armistead from Great Britain.
The difference in the women’s circuit is that they will complete a total circuit of 136.9km, which is two circuits of the first and one circuit of the second. The Grumari Circuit will test the pack with two climbs for 1.2kms with a nine percent gradient and two climbs of 2.1kms with a 4.5 percent gradient. Sandwiched inside the climbs are the pesky cobblestones, which will again play into the classics riders wheelhouse.
The next part of the race, known as the Vista Chinesa Circuit, is where the medals were decided in the men’s race and it is likely where the medals will be decided in the women’s race too. With an 8.9km climb to face before a very tricky 6km descent into the final 20kms on the flat road.
It is unlikely to go to a sprint and if history dictates, then one of the favourites is likely to win out, but the Olympics is all about making a name for yourself, and as we saw in the men’s race, anything can happen.