Colombia confirmed its dream team Friday for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic men’s road race, and anything less than a medal will be viewed as a major disappointment.
Colombia is packing its maximum five-man allotment with firepower. Nairo Quintana, Giro d’Italia runner-up Esteban Chaves, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Rigoberto Urán, Sergio Henao, and Miguel Angel Lopez fill out what will be a five-star favorite outfit for gold in Rio.
The mountainous road race course in Rio has Colombia dreaming of gold, and the team will be aiming to make history in the first Olympic Games held in South America.
[related title=”More Olympics coverage” align=”left” tag=”Rio-Olympics”]
“We chose these riders for their trajectory, the moment, and their experience,” said Colombian national coach Carlos Mario Jaramillo. “It’s a climber’s course, and a rider like Lopez can really help us out.”
The 256.4km circuit includes 11 climbs, including four passages up Grumari (1.2km at 7%) and Grota Funda (2.1km at 4.5%) on the first circuit, and three passages up Vista Chinesa (8.9km at 5.7%) in the second circuit.
Urán checked out the course earlier this week, and said in a previous interview that the route is ideal for the Colombians. One challenge will be designating team leaders ahead of the race, or the team could disintegrate between five riders racing for their own chances.
“We will have to be open with each other, and make sure we ride as a unit,” Urán said. “It’s an historic opportunity for Colombia to win the gold medal. We have to be very united.”