Rio’s staging of the road race has garnered some attention for their course, with most people close to the race saying one thing, this race is for the classics specialists. Riders such as Alejandra Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali and Rui Costa have been installed as early favourites for the race, however it is still a race for the climbers and it is very much up for grabs.
The race is 237.5kms and has elements for everyone to get their teeth into, with cobblestones, flats, hills and descents there is truly something for everyone. Each of these sections will affect the riders differently however, quite crucially, the climb is nearer to the end, and by the time they descend to the end, the favourites will be in place for the victory.
The race begins and ends at Flamengo Park, passing through iconic locations such as the Copacabana. Firstly the riders will take on the ‘Grumari Circuit’ which they complete four times. This includes a climb with a nine per cent gradient called the Grumari Climb and the Grota Funda, which is 2.1kms and will take on a 4.5 percent gradient. This section also includes a 2km stretch of cobblestones, which will play into the hands of the one day classic riders.
The second section of the circuit is named the ‘Vista Chinesa Circuit’ which includes the big climb of the day which is 8.9kms, followed by a 6km descent before a 20km flat finish. While the finish is flat, the race will all be decided before the end of the descent, which the world’s top descenders will be licking their lips at.
The winner of this race will truly be able to do it all, and look for someone to attack late and bring it home, there are favourites for a reason, however this is anyone’s game.