After the disappointment of the men’s cycling road race on Saturday, expectations were high for the time trial today, which took place along the streets of Surrey.
The race started and finished at Hampton Court Palace, looping round through East and West Molesey (unlike the women’s race), before going through Walton and then turning back to Esher and Kingston. The men’s race again had a slightly different route, detouring up to Twickenham before completing the 44km circuit back round to Hampton Court.
The earlier women’s race, without the detours, was limited to 28km and was taking place at lunchtime so I decided to get into the spirit of things and cycle while I watched.
I was quite an interesting, and humbling, feeling realising that I was trying my hardest indoors in the gym, pools of sweat forming undereath my static cycle and yet I was still not doing anything near the speed that these olympians were achieving, out on the road, with hills, wind and turns to contend with as well.
The men’s race later was fantastic, with Bradley Wiggins the firm favourite after his stunning Tour de France performance, and Chris Froome, who lest we forget came second in the TDF and on any other day that by itself would have been an amazing performance by itself, but in the company of Bradley Wiggins and Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara, the master of the time trials, and Germany’s Tony Martin, World Champion, and others such as America’s Taylor Phiney, and Wiggin’s and Froome’s TDF Sky teammate, Michael Rogers, they were always going to have to work hard.
The did not disappoint this time though.
Going through the first timing point at an early 7km it was difficult to call, but after that the race was on and Wiggins showed his complete domination of the discipline, slowly pulling away from Martin all the way through the course. Froome also did a fantastic job and if Martin had failed at any point the silver would have been his. In the end the gap was too much though, and Martin could no more catch Wiggins, than Froome could catch Martin. Cancellara had a disappointing race again, coming in ‘only’ in 7th, probably down to the crash he had in the race on Saturday as he was clearly suffering with pain from his shoulder after the race.
The other triumph for the GB team earlier today was our first gold medal in the Rowing Women’s pairs for Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, so well done to them too. After many days of concern, our medal tally is starting to look a little healthier.