Posted by Editor on 01/19/16
On Monday the UCI released the qualification quotas for the men's road race and time trial at the Rio Olympics this summer, with Canada allotted three spots for the road race and one for the time trial (the TT rider must be one of the three road race athletes). Canada only had one spot in London, in 2012.
The quota system consists of nation rankings in the UCI WorldTour and Continental Tours (plus various other spots allotted for Continental championships, WorldTour individual standings, defending champions and - for the Time Trial - results at the 2015 world championships). Canada finished 2015 ranked second in the Americas Tour (behind Colombia), due to strong performances by riders such as Mike Woods and Rob Britton.
The women's road race, and time trial quota will be announced on June 1st by the UCI, after the May 31st qualification deadline. There will be a total of 65 spots allocated for the women's road race. Canada currently ranks 12th, which would give three spots. The possibility of moving up to the top-5 nations for an additional spot is slim - Canada currently has 980.5 points, with Belgium, the fifth ranked team, at 1434.5 points. In the women's time trial, Canada will receive the maximum two spots - one as a top-15 ranked country, and a second for a top-10 ranked nation in the time trial at the 2015 world championships (Tara Whitten was 13th, but the 10th by nation, since the USA, Germany and the Netherlands both had two riders ahead of her).
The three men selected will be part of a 145-rider field entered in the road race. The 256 km Rio Olympic road event, scheduled to be raced on August 6th, will be one of the harder Olympic races among recent Olympic Games due to the numerous climbs and cobble sections.
The race will start in Copacabana, and will send riders down the coast to ride four laps of the tough Grumari National Park circuit before heading back up the coast, towards Copacabana, to eventually hit the very hard Vista Chinesa circuit that runs through the Tijuca forest. Over the course of the three laps of the Vista Chinesa circuit, the men's peloton will have to brave an 8.9km climb with gradients that vary from 4 to 10%. Once the Chinesa circuits are completed, the race will head along Ipanema beach to eventually come onto Avenida Atlantica on Copacabana beach for the finish.
On August 10th, the time trial will begin in in Pontal and head out to Grumari national park where competitors will ride two loops of the 24km circuit, before heading back to Pontal for the finish. The proposed Olympic circuit is not a typical time trial circuit, as it is characterized by one 1.2km steep climb and another 2.1km more gradual climb.
"It is great to claim back those three spots in the men's road race that we had up until the Beijing 2008 Games. Due to our funding restrictions, we are not in a position to devote significant funding to our men's road programs, but it is because of the North American trade teams taking on our best road riders and the support of some great organizations like Bridge the Gap and Global Relay that we have been able to secure these three spots," said Jacques Landry, Cycling Canada's High Performance Director. "Our job now will be to select the riders best suited to be competitive in both the men's road race and the time trial, all the while being able to contribute to great team cohesiveness," continued Landry.
"Establishing our quotas early gives us time to work more collaboratively with our top athletes and their professional trade teams to ensure we get the right guys to Rio, with the right build up race programs," said Kevin Field, Cycling Canada's Men's Elite Road Manager. "We anticipated this announcement - our riders are excited the courses will be challenging, we have guys who can be very competitive and the internal work is well under-way to narrow our selections to our best three riders," added the Elite Men's Road Manager.
Note: Track Quotas will be released in March after the Track World Championships, and MTB quotas in late May after Round 3 of the XC World Cup. BMX quotas will be released at the end of May.
With files fromCycling Canada
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