After the dust has settled on the road events the track cycling takes centre stage for the next week as Team GB look to dominate just like they did in London 2012.
After sweeping seven out of the ten Gold medals on offer at London 2012, it’s hard to predict what type of medal haul will be taken in the newly built Velodromo Muncipal; but with GB reportedly going at World record pace in the team pursuit in training, high hopes are expected.
And for the quartet of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Stephen Burke, and Ed Clancy they will be looking to reign supreme in what will be a supremely exciting and tight team pursuit battle.
The usual favourites will be looking to knock GB off their perch; Australia defeated Wiggins and company in the Track World Championships later this year with a blistering time of 3:52.727.
That was good enough to win Gold that day, and more importantly it was over a second quicker than GB’s effort of 3:53.856. So the Aussies will be up there, but then the usual suspects of USA and possibly Italy will be hoping to at least medal in the competition.
But the main showdown for Gold should emanate from that classic old rivalry between the English and the Australians.
Wiggo aiming to bow out on a high
After seemingly giving up on the road, Wiggins has turned his attentions to the track in the hope as bowing out as one of the greatest Olympians this country has seen – if he manages to help his team into medal contention he will pick up his eighth Olympic medal, a tremendous feat for a stupendous athlete.
Wiggins has been at the forefront of GB’s dominance in the event over the years, and despite all that has gone on at British Cycling this year, the team pursuit guys still go into the event as favourites.
The World Championships in London earlier this year certainly didn’t go to plan, although they still came away with silver. Their capitulation on the last lap was an indication that work was needed.
But prior to the Games, the whole of the GB squad have been in Newport training for the event, and if the rumours are to be believed, GB could smash another World record these Games.
But for Wiggins, this might be his greatest achievement if he can pull Gold out of the hat; winning the Tour de France is one of the hardest things to do in professional sport, but coming into his twilight years, winning Gold in what potentially could be World record pace is something that might even eclipse his 2012 Tour win.
Australia will push GB all the way
The Australians are always a force to be reckoned with in track cycling. They have a strong pedigree and with athletes such as Sam Welsford, Michael Hepburn, and Callum and Miles Scotson, and not to mention the imperious Anna Meares and they tend to back that up with good results.
And after beating GB by a second at the World Championships in March, confidence will be high for the Aussies as they head into what could be a successful track meet for them in Rio.
Out of all the other teams, GB and Australia certainly lead the way, and if you’re a betting man an Australia v GB final could certainly be classed as a ‘safe’ bet.
Regardless of what happens over the next week, the team pursuit never fails to disappoint. Whether it will be GB or Australia or even another nation to take the plaudits, it promises to be one spectacular event.