Cycling: Women's Road Race

Olympics

ByTheMinRio2016

Afternoon all, Steph here to bring you the Women's Road Race at Rio 2016. I'm just getting a bit of housekeeping out of the way ahead of should be a great race.

When the schedule came out I leapt at the chance cover this race. Women's road cycling gets a fraction of the coverage of the men's yet the quality has made huge leaps forward in recent years. Plus there was a genuine British contender for gold. I was excited. Then... Boom! The bombshell dropped on Monday night. Lizzie Armitstead had escaped sanction after 3 missed dope tests in 1 year.

Her appeal on the grounds that the 1st tester hadn't tried hard enough to find her was accepted. She was free to race at Rio. BUT... There is now a shadow hanging over Armitstead. She has been subject to enormous criticism for her stupidity. She has reasons/excuses for the other missed tests but the fact remains as World Champion she really has a responsibility to the sport. She messed up.

Now. There's no evidence that she is a doper. She took tests immediately after the occasions she missed tests and was clean. She has no suspension & is free to race at Rio. We have to accept it and move on. I have agonised about it this week and have ended up deciding to write this preamble then draw a line under the whole affair and cover the race as I see it. And I will be supporting Lizzie.

So whilst the BBC bang on about all that, I will talk about the race. Same course as the men did yesterday. But 100km ish shorter. 2 laps of the Grumari loop with its cobbles and smaller climbs, just the once on the Vista Chinesa with its cruel steep climb and what proved to be a vicious descent. 136km. Or 141km. Or 139km, depending which website you choose.

It's a real test and the strong winds today will add to the mix. Jo Rowsell posted a video of deckchairs blowing around the village and this comment.

Who are the main players today? Well, Lizzie Armitstead obviously although her head might not be in the right place now. She is World Champ though plus won the Omloop, Strade Bianchi, Tour of Flanders and Aviva Women's Tour in the past year.

Marianne Vos won in London 2016. 3X world champ. Returning from a year off for injury though.

Megan Guarnier (USA). Winner of the Giro d'Italia Femminile. UCI rank no 1.

They are rolling out now. This is going to take between 3 and 4 hours so feel free to chip in with comments.

Mark Dannell

Where is your theoretical 10 quid going for this one Steph?

Steph

Nice outside bet could be Joland Neff. I'm getting to her profile, hang on!

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