Some good news for Rio yesterday. After the contractor building the velodrome went bust and had to be replaced, the velodrome has now been partially completed and handed over to the organisers. The track itself is complete, but subcontractors still have work to do on the seating and other facilities.
In bad news, WADA has suspended their certification of the Rio anti-doping lab for not meeting standards. There will now be no chance of samples being promptly tested and a quick resolution reached
At the moment the only big name who's pulled out is TvG with most of the big names in with a chance on that course stating that they will be going …
The only big name to publicly pull out after previously saying he would go, that is. We'll never know how many others have quietly advised their national federation that they are declining to be considered.
GBR and a couple of others have announced already, GBR being notable for the public tantrums from non-selected women's riders Jessica Varnish, Dani King and Hayley Simmonds.
Cycling Australia will announce on Tuesday next week. My guesses for the road race teams will be Simon Clarke, Rohan Dennis (+TT), Damien Howson (+TT) and Richie Porte for the men, with Gracie Elvin, Katrin Garfoot (+TT), Amanda Spratt and one of Rachel Neylan or Carlee Taylor for the women.
… hell even Sagan is trying to qualify for the MTB event in Rio.
Qualified and selected. This has caused a touch of controversy as Michal Lami got most of the UCI points which earned Slovakia a spot, but he rarely gets inside the top 50 at World Cup races so I think it's a legit selection decision to roll the dice on Sagan with his previous achievements including winning the Junior World Championship in XCO.
Mark Cavendish has done the same thing with a return to the track, he will compete in the Omnium and as the fifth man in the GBR team pursuit squad. The final selection was not controversial, as the more deserving rider Jonathan Dibben dropped out of contention for the spot due to injury.
I do wonder as we get closer to the Olympics if we will start to see a whole bunch of the names suddenly get ill or as you state 'focusing on preparation for the Vuelta.'
Other options include:
- 'Exhausted after a heavy Tour de France campaign' (but not so exhausted as to skip RideLondon or the post-Tour crits).
- 'Competing in the Tour of Utah' which directly clashes, and is actually legit for teams whose sponsors want their pro teams to show well in one of the biggest North American races.
On a side note, I'd dare say the Vuelta has been one of the better GT's in recent years just trailing behind the Giro for excitement value
I agree, it benefits from the teams not being so optimised for it as they are for the Tour.
The Tour organisers have been doing their best with varying the course in recent years, but there's only so much they can do when the UCI allows it to be a video game played by the sporting directors. We'd have a far better contest if team radio was banned (replace it with a transmitter which would send the rider's ID and location to the team car when they press the button to request service) and the power meters being placed under the saddle as they are during track races.