TOKYO, July 23 (Reuters) – Focus on road cycling at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:
THE ABSOLUTE BASICS
* Road cycling is divided into two events for each gender: a road race and a time trial.
* The men’s race in Tokyo will see 130 participants, with a maximum team size of five, compete on a rugged 234 km course that includes the iconic Mount Fuji. During this time, 67 women will run 137 km with a positive elevation gain of over 2,692 m.
* The two individual time trials are solo time trial races. The men will cover 44 km and the women in 22.1.
HOW MANY MEDALS?
Four gold medals are up for grabs – one for men and for women respectively in the road cycling and individual time trial events.
WHAT HAPPENED IN RIO?
Dutchwoman Annamiek van Vleuten suffered a terrible crash while leading the women’s race, allowing her teammate Anna van der Breggen to win the gold medal in a thrilling final.
Belgian Greg Van Avermaet edged out a small group to win the men’s race after pre-race favorite Vincenzo Nibali broke his collarbone in another high-speed crash.
In the women’s time trial, Kristin Armstrong of the United States became the first rider to win gold in the same road event at three different Olympic Games.
Fabian Cancellara, now retired, won the men’s TT.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM TOKYO?
The reigning world champion Julian Alaphilippe has decided to skip the Games. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who has just won his second consecutive Tour de France, will be the man to beat even if the race is expected to be unpredictable.
In the women’s races it will be hard to look past the Dutch all-star lineup of Marianne Vos, Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten. Their biggest challenge in the time trial is expected to come from American Chloe Dygert, who aims to compete both on the track and on the road.
The races will end at the scenic Fuji International Speedway, which has hosted a number of Formula 1 races in the past.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
Road races: July 24-25.
Individual time trial: July 28.
WHERE IS IT?
The men’s and women’s road races will start in eastern Tokyo at Musashinonomori Park before ending at the Fuji International Speedway motor racing circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji.
The time trials will feature the racing circuit heavily, while taking the riders through the surrounding countryside.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
According to popular legend, the very first bicycle race took place on a 1,200m course in Paris in 1868. The sport made its Olympic debut in 1896 and road events have been a regular feature since the Stockholm Games. from 1912..
Tokyo hosted the closest finish to road cycling in Olympic history in 1964, when no one was able to produce a successful breakaway and the top 99 all received a time within two-tenths of the way. Italian gold medalist Mario Zanin.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Peter Rutherford
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