After only qualifying one spot at the London 2012 games, Canada is once again well represented in the men’s road field
(Ottawa, ON – January 18, 2016) Cycling Canada just recently received confirmation from the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) that Canada has qualified three spots in the men’s road race for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Of the three spots awarded to Canada, one rider would be permitted to enter the individual time trial.
The three men selected would 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, Canada’s lone time trialist will start his event in Pontal and head out to Grumari national park where he 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.
Canada was able to qualify three spots for the Olympic Road race as a result of its 2nd place ranking in the UCI America Tour as of December 31st. This strong result is due in part to the many Canadian Pro cyclists that performed this past season in North American UCI sanctioned events on their respective trade teams. Another reason for the high UCI ranking is due to Canada’s push, funded by the Bridge the Gap Fund, to compete and perform at the last road continental championships.
“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 organisations 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”, mentioned 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.
The women’s road race, and time trial, quota will be announced on June 1st by the UCI, after the May 31st qualification deadline.