Rio 2016: Olympic Women’s Road Race Preview

It's the turn of the women peloton today as the Olympic women's road race gets underway this afternoon, as Lizzie Armitstead looks to silence the doubters with a strong performance.

Rio 2016: Olympic Women’s Road Race Preview
Armitstead will be hoping to get GB's first Cycling medal of this Games this afternoon / Eurosport

After yesterday’s spectacular men’s road race it is now the turn of the women’s elite as one of them looks to bring home Gold for their country.

Yesterday’s action was fast and frenetic, and when the race hit crunch time the spectators out on the roadside and those watching all around the world saw bike racing at it’s very best.

It was Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet that capitalised on string of crashes to leading contenders to take home the biggest win of his career.

It was hard luck for Team GB as Geraint Thomas crashed on the descent inside the last 10km which ruled him out of medal contention – but it was still a strong performance from the British contingent as they carried out a game plan, which on another day might have been fruitful.

But now it’s the turn of GB’s Lizzie Armitstead to try and get victory after what has been a stressful week full of questions and controversy over her missed tests.

Same route, different riders

We saw how punishing the Olympic course is; both the Grumari circuit and the Vista Chinesa circuit showcased all that was reported prior to the games – its punishing climbs really thinned out the peloton yesterday, and today expect more of the same with the women’s race.

The women’s race is shorter than the men’s; they will cover 136.9km and will do two laps of the Grumari circuit and one of the Vista Chinesa. So in theory we should see attacks going straight off the bat, so it promises to be a hugely exciting event, one that is not to be missed.

Armitstead aiming for Gold despite furore over missed tests

It’s been quite a week for the World Champion, it all started when news broke of her suspension prior to the Games, and that the Court of Arbitration (CAS) had ruled in favour of the 27-year-old competing at the Games despite missing three anti-doping tests.

The first was adjudged to be the fault of the UK anti-doping officer, but the second and third were due to Armitstead. The Boels-Dolmans rider said the second was due to an admin error on her part, and then the final one was because of a family emergency which Armitstead didn’t want to disclose to the media.

But regardless of the furore, the British rider has been cleared to compete, and if she can get her head right, she will have a great chance of picking up a positive result.

Armitstead might be the favourite, but Anna Van Der Breggen and Marianne Vos might have other ideas

Many people feel if Armitstead can get over the climbs in a good position she will be the one to beat, but there are plenty of other stellar women riders which will be gunning for victory.

The Netherlands have one of the strongest squads in the race, and with the likes of Anna Van Der Breggen and Marianne Vos at their disposal they have two potential winners.

Van Der Breggen is also another hot favourite today / CyclingNews
Van Der Breggen is also another hot favourite today / CyclingNews

The former World Champion Vos has come back from a year’s absence after injury, but is still feeling her way back into prime condition, but you cannot discount a former World Champion.

Another one of the Netherland’s team Van Der Breggen is also considered a hot favourite; the 26-year-old has recently joined Armitstead’s professional team, but the Dutch dynamite is a complete all rounder and one that is suited to this course.

Other favourites include the likes of Megan Gaurnier who has had a fabulous season so far, the climber Mara Abbott will be another one to look out for.

So all in all the women’s race should be one of the highlights in what is another packed day at the Rio Olympics.