This weekend’s Olympics road race is one for the climbers. Saturday’s men’s race starts and finishes in Copacabana going through four laps of the Grumari Circuit which includes two climbing efforts of 1.3km and 2.1km at 9.4% and 6.8%, respectively. Riders then head back east along the coast to the 25.5km Vista Chinesa Circuit for two and a half laps with a climbing section of 8.9km at a misleading 6.2% average. After the climb to Canoas there is a brief descent before the longer climb to the top of Vista Chinesa with portions at over 10%. After the final descent, the 10km flat leads to the finish, right where the race started. The women face a similar course, although shorter with fewer circuits on Sunday.
The weather looks warm but clear and calm, with a high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here’s what riders are saying about the race course:
… Looks like Bauke Mollema is excited for the cobbles, steep climbs, and technical descents!
Despite having never won a major one-day race, Chris Froome is ready to give it his all after coming off his third Tour win. In an interview with The Guardian, Froome said, “The Olympics is different [from the Tour], it’s something special that only comes around once every four years. Especially on a course like this that’s hilly — this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“For sure, we are going to go for the strongest guy. I think Rafal Majka is feeling well after the Tour de France and he’s capable of having a great result there,” Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski said.
“It’s the hardest course I’ve seen in a single day,” said American Megan Guarnier, who leads the Women’s WorldTour and is a top favorite for gold. “It has everything in it. It’s a climber’s course at the end, but there are 120km of racing at the beginning.”
Her compatriot Brent Bookwalter shared a similar impression. “It’s legit,” he said of the 241km course. “It’s a fully diverse course that’s going to suit someone who can climb and descend extremely well. It’s got everything: fast flat, cobblestones, wind, punchy climbs, and tricky downhills. The Vista Chinesa climb is no joke.”
“The guys who are up there in the Tour are probably the guys who are going to be animating the road race. And I’m out-climbing most of those guys. It’s a climber’s course,” Richie Porte told CyclingNews as the Tour drew to an end. Another Aussie, Rohan Dennis, seemed confident, telling the Australian Olympic Committee that, “We have Richie and Simon [Gerrans], Richie just came fifth in the Tour, and Simon has been there for numerous world championships when we have performed well, so they are going to be watching us for sure.”
“It’s an ideal course for those riders who like climbs; it’s useless to pretend otherwise,” Italian Fabio Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It suits those who want to try from far, like Rui Costa or Dan Martin, who can launch a surprise attack.”