The Olympic time trial course isn’t an easy one with some elevations to contend with. Both the women and the men will start from Hampton Court Palace and ride the same course, with a few alterations for the women. The men’s course heads north from the start around Bessborough and Knight Reservoirs, before looping back down towards Hampton Court Palace. From there it is westward bound out to Seven Hills. The first of the hills to tackle comes along this part of the route, at the 14km mark, on Lammas Lane. It is quickly followed by the toughest of the hills on Seven Hills Road, 5km later. While the hills aren’t overly hard, the long drag effect can sap the legs quite quickly.
A further couple of lumps can be found around Esher High Street, at 29km, but the road flattens out for the run to the line. The competitors will ride past the back of the Palace, before heading out to Kingston and approaching the finish from the east. The women’s course differs in two areas, the very start and the finish. Instead of doing the loop of the reservoirs they will turn immediately towards Seven Hills and the final loop around Kingston won’t feature. They will instead come up Hampton Court Road to the finish line.
The Women’s race will be much harder to predict, with the last form marker, the Giro Donne, finishing almost a month before the race. Emma Pooley will be the clear home favourite, but she has already stated the course is not suited to her. While it is not as hilly as she would like she could still challenge for victory. Her podium spot in last year’s World Championships came on a much flatter course, so even the small hills could help her out.
Reigning Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong has been out of action since her crash at the Exergy Tour earlier in the season, but she can’t be counted out. At 38 she will be one of the oldest competitors in the women’s field. Judith Arndt is the overwhelming favourite, as current world champion. She came sixth in the previous Olympics, but this route could really suit her. Finally Marianne Vos is not known for her ability in the longer distance time trials, but in here current form no one can discount her on anything.
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